Zimbabwe's troubled national unity government showed signs of stabilizing on Thursday after President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party declared it is committed to the uneasy partnership and criticized its governing partner, the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, for issuing an ultimatum for the resolution of outstanding issues.
Secretary General Tendai Biti of Tsvangirai's MDC formation, who is minister of finance in the so-called inclusive government, told reporters in a news conference on Wednesday that if the principals in the unity government do not resolve all outstanding issues by Monday the matter will be referred to the MDC grouping's national council for discussion.
But Biti stopped short of threatening to pull out of the power-sharing government, which he said is the best option for Zimbabwe at the present moment.
Responding, ZANU-PF Deputy Spokesman Ephraim Masawi told Web-based news publication ZimOnline that ultimatums should not be issued in a negotiating process.
Mr. Tsvangirai opened talks last month with President Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara hoping to resolving a number of vexed questions left from before the government’s formation and others that have cropped up since its February launch.
These include the ongoing invasions of white-owned commercial farms, which Mr. Mugabe has encouraged, the president’s unilateral reassignment of ministerial responsibilities, and his appointments to top posts including the governorship of the central bank.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that ZANU-PF is showing signs of panic at the MDC ultimatum.