With his formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change party set to re-engage with its ZANU-PF partner in governance and start attending cabinet meetings again this week, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is voicing optimism that the so-called outstanding issues troubling the government can be resolved over the next several weeks.
A deal worked out last Thursday at a Southern African Development Community mini-summit in Maputo, Mozambique, set a 30 day period for "dialogue" between Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF to resolve various contentious issues left unresolved when the government was formed in February or which have arisen since.
Such issues range from the tenure of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono to what the MDC calls the politically motivated prosecution of many of its members of Parliament.
However, although the Tsvangirai MDC agreed to resume attendance of cabinet meetings, the regular Tuesday session was put off to Wednesday because President Mugabe is traveling.
Addressing thousands of MDC supporters Sunday in Chitungwiza, a Harare satellite town, Mr. Tsvangirai said he could assure party supporters all issues would be settled in the 30-day period set by SADC mediators - though their language was somewhat ambiguous.
Sources said negotiators from the three parties in the unity government - the third is the smaller MDC formation led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - will meet this week to prepare the ground for further negotiations by the governing principals.
Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his party is indeed optimistic all the outstanding issues will be resolved soon - but added that if not, then new elections will be the alternative.
Political analyst George Mkhwanazi cautioned Mr. Tsvangirai against too much optimism, noting that Mr. Mugabe has not been known for his willingness to compromise.
National Constitutional Assembly Director Ernest Mudzengi also voiced doubt in an interview with VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemirii as to whether the outstanding issues can be resolved in 30 days – unless SADC leaders heavily pressure Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
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