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Zimbabwe Crisis Continues as PM Tsvangirai Opens Regional Consultations

The crisis in Zimbabwe's unity government continued Monday as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai headed for Mozambique to meet Tuesday with President Armando Guebuza, now head of a Southern African Development Community committee on Zimbabwe.

Mr. Tsvangirai was expected to urge SADC to boost its involvement as guarantor of the 2008 Global Political Agreement which is the basis of the unity government bringing together his and another branch of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the former ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.

He was also expected to meet with SADC Chairman Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angolan President Jose Eduardo Santos, as well as President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, which has long mediated in Harare.

A South African Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Monday that Pretoria urged all parties to the government to “recommit themselves to the full implementation” of the GPA.

The ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe announced meanwhile that it will proceed with government business as usual. But Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation, said the government cannot operate without Mr. Tsvangirai's party.

Information Ministry Permanent Secretary George Charamba, a close advisor of Mr. Mugabe, told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that the Cabinet will meet as scheduled on Tuesday and that any decisions taken in that session will be binding.

Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Prime Minister Tsvangirai is engaging SADC leaders in hopes they will take a more active role in the crisis over adherence to the power-sharing agreement.

Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara told journalists on Monday that President Mugabe has no mandate to run the country in the absence of any of the three parties that formed the unity government in February, as VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported.

Welshman Ncube, secretary general of Mutambara's MDC formation, told VOA's Patience Rusere that his party will do what it can to prevent the crisis from escalating.

SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao said regional leaders were very concerned about the developments in Zimbabwe and want to see crisis resolved before it deepens.

Pretoria-based political analyst George Mkhwanazi expressed doubt, however, that SADC will take any firmer steps than it has in the past to address Mr. Tsvangirai’s concerns.

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