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Zimbabwe's MDC Takes Stock Following Setback at Southern African Summit

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change has called meetings Saturday of its national council and national executive to discuss the outcome of the Southern African Development Community summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo which handed off the Zimbabwe question to a working group.

The Tsvangirai MDC formation had pinned its hopes on the SADC summit to help resolve a long list of so-called outstanding issues that have festered since the formation of a national unity government in Harare in February and increased in number over that period.

But the SADC heads of state did little more than urge the West to lift sanctions on President Robert Mugabe, his inner political circle and related persons and companies, instructing the SADC troika or working group on Zimbabwe to take up the issue at a later date.

The troika, which includes Mozambique, South Africa and Angola, was expected to meet in Maputo, Mozambique, some time in the weeks ahead.

The United States and the European Union have called on Mr. Mugabe to adhere to the Global Political Agreement he signed with Mr. Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, head of the other MDC formation and now deputy prime minister, before they will lift sanctions.

ZANU-PF sources told VOA that they were happy with the outcome of the SADC summit.

South Africa Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe however told his country's parliament on Wednesday that if the SADC Troika does not deal decisively with the issues raised by the MDC, the regional grouping may need to convene an extraordinary summit.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his party's leadership will map the way forward on Saturday.

Mr. Tsvangirai told a public meeting Wednesday in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, that his party is deeply concerned by the unresolved issues troubling power-sharing.

But Mr. Tsvangirai said his MDC would not pull out of the government despite rising tensions with its ZANU-PF partners, and urged Zimbabweans to be patient with the government as it works towards reviving the economy and reforming national institutions.

Political analyst Brilliant Mhlanga told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is high time ZANU-PF and the MDC stopped squabbling over political offices and concentrated on the bread-and-butter issues affecting ordinary Zimbabweans.

Following the SADC summit, political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya told VOA reporter Peter Clottey he detects a loss of momentum by Mr. Tsvangirai and his party.

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