Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Your Black News: Leaders Urge Zimbabwe Summit

JOHANNESBURG — Fifteen heads of state from across southern Africa will soon try again to resolve Zimbabwe’s festering political crisis, now dragging into its seventh month since disputed elections, as hunger spreads among millions of people cross the country.

After a negotiating marathon that began Monday, leaders from four countries in the region acknowledged early Tuesday that they had failed to break the deadlock between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai over control of the Home Ministry that would oversee the police in a future power-sharing government.

Their decision to refer the dispute to a meeting of all 15 member nations of the Southern African Development Community, known as SADC, was a modest victory for Mr. Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Mr. Mugabe, in power since 1980, won a presidential runoff widely denounced as fraudulent after Mr. Tsvangirai dropped out because of violence against his supporters.

But the communiqué issued by the regional officials also suggested Mr. Tsvangirai was moving toward acceptance of a solution — “cooperative management” of the Home Ministry — that officials from his party said he had rejected. “There’s no such agreement and it’s not practical,” said Mr. Tsvangirai’s spokesman, George Sibotshiwe.

The opposition has pushed for a full summit meeting in large measure because of its dissatisfaction with the mediation of Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa, opposition officials said. As the power struggle between Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe plays out, the number of Zimbabweans who are hungry has risen to almost four million, according to United Nations estimates, and will exceed five million by January.


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