MDC: Zanu-PF is backtracking

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Four days after Zimbabwe’s opposition gave in to pressure to join President Robert Mugabe in a unity government, the deal looked to be in jeopardy again Tuesday as Morgan Tsvangirai’s party accused Mugabe’s Zanu-PF of shirking its commitments.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesperson Nelson Chamisa accused Zanu-PF of backtracking on a commitment to resolve outstanding sticking points before the new government is formed.

“We are ready to clear all outstanding issues so that we collectively confront the challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe. Zanu-PF is not.”

The MDC last week agreed to join a Mugabe-led government by February 13. Tsvangirai is scheduled to be sworn in as prime minister on February 11. The MDC says Zanu-PF is refusing to come to the table on the few remaining issues separating them – the release of political prisoners, the drafting of new legislation on national security and the sharing between the parties of provincial governor posts.

Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed the power-sharing deal in September last year but it has been stalled for nearly five months by bickering over positions of power.

Last week, Tsvangirai said he was committed to joining the unity government by February 13, a deadline given by the Southern African Development Community.

Zimbabwe’s deepening cholera epidemic has lent urgency to the formation of a government.

An update from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the epidemic Tuesday showed 64 701 people had been infected with cholera since August last year, of whom 3,295 people have died. – Sapa-dpa

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