Africa leaders look to end Zimbabwe impasse
Southern African leaders meet in Harare on Monday to try to salvage a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and rescue Zimbabwe's economy from free-fall, Reuters reported.
Political analysts say the chances of the regional summit breaking an impasse over the allocation of cabinet posts depends on how much pressure the Southern African Development Community (SADC) can put on Mugabe and Tsvangirai to compromise.
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a presidential election on March 29 but by too few votes to avoid a run-off in June, which Mugabe won unopposed after Tsvangirai pulled out, saying his supporters had been subjected to violence and intimidation.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed an agreement to form a unity government on September 15 under the mediation of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, but this has stalled over a dispute over the allocation of key ministerial departments.
Weeks of negotiations failed to break the impasse and the rival leaders agreed that the SADC should convene an emergency summit on the dispute.
Tsvangirai, leader of the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition group, boycotted the first summit in Swaziland a week ago, saying Mugabe's government had refused to grant him a passport and instead gave him only an emergency travel document to attend the talks.
On Monday, Tsvangirai will join Mugabe, Arthur Mutambara of a smaller MDC faction, Mbeki and leaders from South Africa, Swaziland, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the rescheduled summit in Harare.
Tsvangirai, set to become prime minister if a power-sharing government takes office -- says he will not be bullied into an administration in which he will have little authority.
He accuses Mugabe of trying to make him a junior partner with control over less important ministries.
In turn, Mugabe's ZANU-PF accuses Tsvangirai of seeking a power transfer, not a power-sharing arrangement, and of stalling the talks to try to drag in the United Nations to mediate.