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Zimbabwe Opposition Deliberates As Region Presses For Unity Government

The Southern African Development Community is pressing for the installation of a government of national unity in Zimbabwe despite contradictory signals and statements from the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Morgan Tsvangirai, designated as prime minister since the signature of a power-sharing agreement last September.

The Johannesburg Star newspaper quoted Tsvangirai as saying he has agreed in principle to join a government of national unity.

But his MDC formation issued a statement saying that the decision will only be taken Friday when the party’s national council, its supreme decision-making body, assembles.

SADC sources said Tsvangirai moderated his position on joining an "inclusive government" when President Robert Mugabe agreed to reconsider issues including the appointment of the country's provincial governors, its central bank governor and its attorney general.

The SADC sources said the main sticking point concerned the allocation of ministries, which was decided by consensus among regional leaders meeting in a Monday-Tuesday summit, with the proviso that the question could be revisited in six months time.

The leaders were not willing to reverse an earlier decision in effect endorsing the allocation of ministries handed down by Mr. Mugabe last year over opposition objections.

The South African government said power-sharing facilitator Thabo Mbeki’s right-hand man, Sydney Mufamadi, was due to arrive in Harare on Friday to set up a so-called joint-monitoring implementation committee which was provided for in the September accord.

Director General Frank Chikane of South African President Kgalema Motlanthe's office told reporters Wednesday in Pretoria that the priority for those pushing implementation of the power sharing agreement is to name co-chairs of working committees.

Tsvangirai spokesman Joseph Mungwari told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC National Council, not Tsvangirai, will make the final decision.

More reports From VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...