Zimbabwe's political crisis deepened yesterday after the first meeting between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai since the prime minister's MDC party boycotted the unity government, an MDC spokesman said.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the Movement for Democratic Change and Mugabe's ZANU-PF were "worlds apart" after the two old foes met to try to end a stalemate that raises further questions over their ability to rebuild a ruined economy..
"If they (Mugabe and his ZANU-PF) are facing west we are facing east," Chamisa said.
The crisis hit the fragile coalition earlier this month when the MDC said it would stop attending cabinet meetings in protest against the arrest of one of its senior officials and Mugabe's refusal fully to implement a political agreement.
During Monday's three-hour meeting, Mugabe refused to give ground and said it was up to the MDC to break the deadlock by calling for an end to Western sanctions that he blames for Zimbabwe's economic troubles, said Chamisa.
ZANU-PF officials were not immediately available for comment.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai entered the unity government after disputed elections left the impoverished African state in a stalemate and in danger of serious violence.
Difficulties in implementing their agreement have delayed efforts to secure billions of dollars from Western donors, money that is crucial for Zimbabwe's economic recovery.
Chamisa said the MDC would now wait for the outcome of mediation by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and if this failed to end the deadlock the party would start to prepare for elections.
"If that (mediation) fails, unfortunately we have to start to prepare for elections because there is no government without the GPA (Global Political Agreement)," Chamisa told Reuters.
"The elections have to be managed by credible institutions."
Chamisa said ministers from an SADC troika on politics, defence and security were expected to meet the MDC and ZANU-PF separately in Harare on Thursday to assess the progress of the unity government.Reuse content