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Zimbabwe Unity Gov't Crisis Goes to Regional Panel Amid General Skepticism

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change declined to join a cabinet meeting for the third straight on Tuesday after he expressed doubts a regional meeting Thursday in Mozambique could resolve an impasse in the Harare government.

VOA Studio 7 Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported that following a meeting on Monday with Southern African Development Community Chairman Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. Tsvangirai told reporters the session merely developed issues he raised with Mr. Kabila in Kinshasa on a recently diplomatic tour.

Mr. Tsvangirai announced Oct. 16 that his MDC formation was disengaging from ZANU-PF and President Robert Mugabe though remaining in the national unity government, charging that the former ruling party had seriously breached the 2008 Global Political Agreement.

President Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who leads the smaller of the two MDC formations, are expected to fly to Maputo, Mozambique, Wednesday for a session of the SADC troika on politics, defense and security. Mozambique holds the troika chair currently and the other two members are Swaziland and Zambia.

President Mugabe this week downplayed the involvement of the SADC organ, saying that only Zimbabweans could resolve the crisis. But Mr. Tsvangirai said that a full SADC summit would be in order if the troika is unable to bring about a resolution of the crisis in Harare. SADC guaranteed the power-sharing agreement on which the unity government is based.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party remains disengaged from ZANU-PF within the government because none of its demands for GPA compliance has been met.

ZANU-PF information committee member Chris Mutsvangwa reiterated the position taken by Mr. Mugabe saying that the crisis could only be resolved by Zimbabweans.

Mutambara told civic activists there can be no unity government without Tsvangirai as prime minister. He told the NGO representatives that all three parties must work together to keep their legitimacy. Groups represented included the Women's Coalition, the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition Coordinator Mcdonald Lewanika told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that his impression from Mutambara's comments was that many of the concerns expressed by Mr. Tsvangirai "resonate" with Mutambara's MDC grouping.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said the MDC was justified in continuing its boycott of cabinet and council of ministers sessions, as SADC has not broken the impasse.

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