- Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai has announced that his party is pulling out of the unity partnership until outstanding political issues have been addressed.
In a press statement today, Mr Tsvangirai said his party has been tolerant enough and cannot stand the frustrations caused by Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF dirty tricks any more.
"We have done everything in order to make this government work and we have done so purely for one reason, the need to restore hope and dignity to our people; the need to give our people a new start and a new beginning. This overwhelming obligation remains as factual and as fundamental to date," he said.
The MDC's announcement of disengagement was caused mainly by the arrest and detention of the party's treasurer Roy Bennett, who is also a nominee for the post of deputy agriculture portfolio. Mr Bennett, who is facing charges of terrorism, insurgency, sabotage and banditry has since been free on bail.
Of the arrest, Mr Tsvangirai said: "It has brought home the reality that as a Movement, we have an unreliable and unrepentant partner in the transitional government. It has brought home the self-evident fact that Zanu PF sees us as a junior, fickle and unserious Movement," he said.
He said it was now time for the party to assert and take its position as the dominant party in Zimbabwe, while at the same time not discarding the trust and mandate from the people.
"For that reason, this party for now cannot renege on the people’s mandate. However, it is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner. In this regard, whilst being government, we shall forthwith disengage from Zanu PF and in particular from Cabinet and the Council of Ministers until such time as confidence and respect is restored amongst us," he stressed.
The Zimbabwean unity government was formed in February this year after talks had swerved through numerous deadends. Mr Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and the leader of a small MDC faction, Aurthur Mutambara penned a commitment to share in the unity government and restore both the economic and political shambles of the country.
However, the unity government in Zimbabwe, which had remained suspect in the many eyes of the western powers, had never really settled in its first steps due to lack of commitment and counter accusations, as well as lack of initial financial support for many of its rebuilding programmes.
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