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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai Tells MDC Loyalists to Prepare for Elections

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told supporters of his formation of the Movement for Democratic Change, in a unity government with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, to get ready for a new round of elections within two years.

Mr. Tsvangirai's statement to MDC supporters in the districts of Binga and Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North province on Sunday followed a similar call by President Mugabe last month to ZANU-PF activists, in effect putting both parties in pre-electoral mode.

Mr. Tsvangirai reminded supporters that the Global Political Agreement underpinning power sharing says elections can be called at any time after a new constitution is in place.

Though the process of revising the constitution has been fraught with delays, a referendum on the new basic document could be organized by late 2010 or early 2011.

Spokeswoman Thabitha Khumalo of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Tsvangirai, president of the party, wanted supporters to remain alert as elections could be called any time.

Tsvangirai has visited different parts of the country in recent weeks updating the public and members of his own party on developments in the government and in politics.

The unity government has been troubled from the start by disagreements over appointments to top posts, in particular the governorship of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Office of the Attorney General, which Mr. Mugabe filled between the September 2008 signing of the GPA and the installation of the unity government in February. The ZANU-PF-controlled judiciary has also prosecuted numerous MDC members of Parliament.

Political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although the unity government principals may be gearing up for the polls in two years, they could meet resistance from party lawmakers.

Elsewhere, Mr. Tsvangirai toured Harare Central Hospital on Monday seeking an update on the health delivery system, finding a marked improvement in conditions there.

Hospital officials told Mr. Tsvangirai that drugs are now more available due to support from the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization among other donors, reported correspondent Sylvia Manika of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

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