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Zimbabwe's MDC Urges Southern African Summit To Mediate Harare Quarrel

The annual conference of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed the party's desire to bring the Southern African Development Community back into the picture to help sort out issues troubling the unity government in which it has been a partner since mid-February.

The gathering also signaled that the former opposition party, which agreed last September to share power with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF for lack of a better way out of a post-election impasse, does not see the arrangement lasting much more than two years.

The MDC gathering called for SADC to convene an extraordinary summit so it can weigh in on the "outstanding issues" left over when the government was formed and which still have not been resolved despite numerous meetings between Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe, along with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, third signer of the power-sharing pact.

Addressing the most heated of those issues, the MDC conference called for Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana to step down.

Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC formation is also calling for new elections as soon as the constitution has been revised - a process it estimates will take another year and a half.

It also urged ZANU-PF, which controls the military and security forces, to discontinue what it described as ongoing military deployment in rural areas.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the unity government’s African guarantors must be called in.

Political analyst Immanuel Hlabangana, director of the South African-based advocacy group Diaspora Dialogue, said ZANU-PF is unlikely to comply with the MDC demands.

Elsewhere, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office said he will travel to the United States and Europe later this month on his first diplomatic initiative since taking office.

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to Mr. Tsvangirai's office, told reporter Chris Gande that MR. Tsvangirai hopes to meet U.S President Barack Obama and other heads of state.

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