Tsvangirai demands his passport

Harare – Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Tuesday demanded that the government give its leader Morgan Tsvangirai a passport to attend an upcoming summit aimed at saving a troubled power-sharing deal.

Southern African nations are set to hold an emergency summit on Zimbabwe in the coming weeks, after key regional leaders failed to broker a compromise to save the plan for a unity government with President Robert Mugabe.

The chief negotiator for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Tendai Biti, told reporters that if the summit is held outside Zimbabwe, the opposition leader will not attend unless he receives a passport.

Tsvangirai has not had a passport for months and must seek an emergency travel document (ETD) each time he leaves the country.

"We will not travel on an ETD. We want a passport," Biti said.

"The passport issue is the crudest form of lack of sincerity" by Mugabe’s long-ruling Zanu-PF, he added.

Tsvangirai refused to attend a summit in Swaziland last week in protest at long delays in receiving his travel papers.

Biti said it was "regrettable" that SA President Kgalema Motlanthe and other key regional leaders had failed to broker an agreement during the summit in Harare on Monday.

"In our view, an urgent summit towards the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis is paramount," Biti said. "At the core of our differences, in our view, is the lack of sincerity and good faith on the part of Zanu-PF."

Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing agreement on September 15, but the deal threatens to collapse over disputes about who will control the home affairs ministry, which oversees the police.

The date and location has not yet been set for the summit of all 15 leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). – AFP