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Regional pressure mounts for Zimbabwe deal -

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Regional pressure mounts for Zimbabwe deal

The World Today - Wednesday, 28 January , 2009 12:36:00

Reporter: Andrew Geoghegan

BRENDAN TREMBATH: As Zimbabwe's cholera death toll approaches 3,000, regional pressure is mounting
on the country's political foes to end their stand-off and start helping the people.

A summit of southern African leaders has told President Robert Mugabe and Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai they should form a unity government by the middle of next month.

But as Africa correspondent Andrew Geoghegan reports, the Opposition is still refusing to commit to
the deal.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Southern African leaders were clearly determined to resolve the political impasse
that's paralysed Zimbabwe. After 14 hours of negotiations, the summit's host, South African
President Kgalema Motlanthe emerged from the marathon meeting with some surprising news; Zimbabwe's
political foes had agreed to form a government.

KGALEMA MOTLANTHE: Agreement is that the negotiating teams will with unity fact(inaudible) seek to
develop the formula of how the governance, for instance, would be distributed amongst the parties.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: The SADC Summit had come up with a timetable that would see Opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai sworn in as Prime Minister on 11 February. While a Government led by President
Robert Mugabe would be formed two days later.

The problem is; the Opposition MDC claims it's made no such agreement.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

NELSON CHAMISA: We have not accepted the position that was given by SADC. Unfortunately, our
expectations were not met. Our case was not received.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: President Mugabe's Zanu-PF Party says it will now form a government with or
without the MDC and is refusing to negotiate any further.

Spokesman Bright Matonga.

BRIGHT MATONGA: No, there's not going to be any negotiations. I think that process has been damaged
and concluded and the President will form a new Cabinet. If they think they can hold Zimbabwe to
ransom, it will be very unfortunate, and I don't think the people of Zimbabwe will allow that to

And they are pushing their luck. I wish, in their wisdom, that they find it within themselves that
at least something has to be done. People are suffering.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Morgan Tsvangirai's spokesman George Sibotshiwe says his leader refuses to be a
junior partner in a Mugabe Government.

GEORGE SIBOTSHIWE: We don't have an urgency to get into government. We have an urgency to save the
people of Zimbabwe.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But many people would argue, if you can actually form a unity government, you're
in a much better position to help save those people.

GEORGE SIBOTSHIWE: Well, you are not in a much better position to help save those people if your
Prime Minister has a responsibility but there's no authority. The truth of the matter is that the
same cholera crisis that you are saving will still be there months down the line because he doesn't
have some kind of enforcement capacity to be able to deliver on what the people need.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: How would you describe the pressure that has been brought to bear on the MDC,
particularly at this SADC meeting?

GEORGE SIBOTSHIWE: I think it's one of the most unfair things that history will record. The fact of
the matter is that the MDC won the election, but sometimes you get the impression that the amount
of pressure being put, as if the MDC lost the election and are now clambering for a place on the
negotiation table.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: MDC spokesmen George Sibotshiwe speaking to Andrew Geoghegan.