Monday, October 27, 2008

Zimbabwe politics update

We're using this post as an update on Zimbabwe politics. We try to stay away from government leadership struggles, but many Zimbabweans believe that an agreement would bring the country out of it's economic collapse.

Those hopes are being threatened now with the delays and pettiness of the two leaders who are trying to share power.

80% of Zimbabwean people are in poverty, and the country has the world's highest inflation rate at 231%. The people hope that once an agreement is finalized, the new government can begin to tackle the problems.

Activists demonstrated Monday at a meeting about the power sharing talks. Police fired tear gas into the crowd and arrested 100 people, about half the group. As told to Mail and Guardian, activists sum up why this should be finished quickly.

"Conclude the talks. We are dying of hunger," the activists from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in a statement.

Mugabe's lead negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, told state media that he was "cautiously optimistic" of reaching a deal, saying the summit "will end the saga over the allocation of ministries".

The security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) organised the summit in Harare after Tsvangirai boycotted talks one week ago in Swaziland to protest delays in receiving his travel papers from Mugabe's government.

Just six weeks ago, regional leaders had come to Harare to celebrate the signing of the power-sharing deal, which calls for 84-year-old Mugabe to remain as president while Tsvangirai becomes prime minister.

But Mugabe and Tsvangirai have failed to agree on which party should control the most important ministries, particularly home affairs, which oversees the police force.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mozambican President Armando Emilio Guebuza, Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini and Angolan Foreign Minister Assuncao dos Anjos hope to pressure the two sides into an agreement on Monday to salvage the deal.

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