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Regional Handling of Zimbabwe Gov't Crisis Escalated to Troika Heads of State

The Southern African Development Community has called a meeting Thursday in Mozambique of its troika or committee on politics, security and defense to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe's national unity government, SADC officials said Monday.

Word of the troika meeting emerged as SADC Chairman Joseph Kabila, also president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, met with President Robert Mugabe and principals in Harare's unity government to follow up an assessment last week by troika foreign ministers.

Spokesperson Yunassy Muchanga of Mozambique’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the troika will meet in Maputo. Mozambique holds the rotating chairmanship of the troika organ whose other two members are Swaziland and Zambia.

The formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change formation headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has accused ZANU-PF and President Mugabe of failing to adhere to the terms of the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing.

Mr. Kabila arrived in Harare late Sunday and met first on Monday with Mr. Mugabe, then was slated to meet with Mr. Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Mr. Kabila briefed reporters following five hours of discussion with President Mugabe.

Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Mr. Tsvangirai hoped the troika heads of state could help unravel the lengthening crisis.

Representatives of leading civic organizations sought a meeting with Mr. Kabila but the request was not granted. So they arranged a meeting Tuesday with Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara in hopes that he can convince the SADC chairman to hear their views.

The non-governmental organizations were told that Mr. Kabila was in Harare on a “working” visit, not necessarily to intervene in the unity crisis.

Spokesman Fambai Ngirande of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that civic leaders will keep trying to make their voices heard because they represent ordinary Zimbabweans.

There was some skepticism among observers as to whether Mr. Kabila’s visit would help move the crisis closer to resolution. They noted he is seen as close to Mr. Mugabe, therefore less likely than some other regional leaders to press hard for compliance with the GPA.

Senior Programs Manager Pedzisai Ruhanya of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Mr. Kabila would simply urge the principals to adhere to the GPA.

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