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Analysts, Ordinary Zimbabweans Say MDC Should Keep Unity Gov't Intact


Political analysts and ordinary Zimbabweans seem to agree that it would be a mistake for the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to declare the September 2008 Global Political Agreement a dead letter and scuttle the seven-month-old national unity government.

One year and a few days after the signature of the GPA by Mr. Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and rival MDC formation leader Arthur Mutambara, now deputy prime minister, recriminations and threats of dissolution are heard among unity government partners more than celebratory declarations.

Of the three GPA principals only Mr. Mugabe has declared himself satisfied with the degree of fulfillment of the GPA. Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC formation says the president and his ZANU-PF have flouted the pact with unilateral appointments, delayed installation of MDC officials, and systematic prosecution of MDC members of parliament on charges Tsvangirai's former opposition party calls trumped-up.

Mr. Tsvangirai on the weekend said he would sound his supporters on whether the GPA should be kept in place or not - which many interpret as a veiled threat to pull out of the government.

For perspective on this latest turn in this saga of an agreement that took months in 2008 to negotiate and was not translated into a unity government until five months later amid disease, hunger and desperation, Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe and London-based analyst George Shire whether the MDC would be well advised to pull the plug.

Both agreed that Mr. Tsvangirai's dominant MDC formation should keep the deal intact – but Makumbe argued that the MDC is entirely correct to challenge ZANU-PF on its adherence to the pact.

Correspondent Taurai Shava reported from Gweru, Midlands province, that ordinary Zimbabweans fear the economic and political consequences of a unity government collapse triggered by an MDC walkout, saying recent economic gains could be lost and political violence could surge as in 2008 after the March elections in which Mr. Tsvangirai outpolled Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF lost its House majority.

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

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