Tsvangirai pulled his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) out of cabinet meetings 11 days ago, citing Mugabe’s failure to carry out terms in the power-sharing agreement relating to proper power-sharing and full democracy.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai met for three hours on Monday in a bid to settle their differences, but ‘we are still poles apart,’ said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. ‘There is no understanding between the political parties.’
He said the MDC was hoping that diplomatic intervention by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the 15-nation regional bloc that is the guarantor of the agreement between Tsvangirai and the 85-year-old Mugabe, could end the dispute. Leaders of a three- country SADC panel on security are due to meet with the Zimbabwean leaders in Harare Thursday.
‘If that (SADC intervention) fails we have to push for a framework for free and fair elections,’ he said. If Mugabe decided to rule alone and without the MDC, ‘it will not be a government, it will be a Zanu-PF organ,’ he said.
Tsvangirai’s withdrawal has seen a resurgence in state repression not seen since the inauguration of the transitional government in February.
An MDC residence was ransacked by heavily armed police at the weekend and two of the country’s top civil society officials were arrested. On Tuesday, an MDC security official narrowly escaped abduction, the party said.
‘We are beginning to see the forming of a storm of violence,’ said Chamisa, drawing comparisons with the presidential run-off in June last year, in which 100 people were confirmed killed by Zanu-PF loyalists.
Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of cronies as central bank governor and attorney general, a wave of arrests of MDC MPs on what the MDC says are trumped-up charges, and the ongoing invasion of white-owned farms are among some of the issues threatening to collapse the government.