Friday, March 30, 2007


Leaders of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF are expected to meet on Friday to decide whether President Robert Mugabe should stand for re-election next year.
Mr Mugabe has made it clear he wants to remain in office.
But he is under increasing pressure from Zanu-PF factions to stand down to end the political and economic crisis.
On Thursday, southern African leaders agreed that South African President Thabo Mbeki should try to promote political dialogue inside Zimbabwe.
In their communique, the leaders expressed solidarity with Mr Mugabe, urged western countries to lift sanctions and called on the UK to pay for land reform.
Correspondents say this kind of language would have been music to Mr Mugabe's ears.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is disappointed with the outcome of the meeting - it says the problems are Mr Mugabe's economic mismanagement and human rights abuses.

The problem with these African leaders is that they fear Mugabe and employ a quiet diplomacy
Henry, Harare
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The European Union and US sanctions are a travel ban and an assets freeze on the Mr Mugabe and his close allies, yet Mr Mugabe blames them for causing Zimbabwe's economic woes.
Decision day
BBC Southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles say that behind the scenes, the issue everyone is talking about is Robert Mugabe's future.
The man who has led Zimbabwe for nearly 27 years has never looked as isolated as he is at present, our correspondent says.
Friday's meeting of Zanu-PF's Central Committee brings together about 200 of the ruling party's most important decision-makers.
In the knowledge that presidential elections are due a year from now, there is intense lobbying going on within Zanu-PF, he says.

Summit disappoints critics
Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa
Profile: The Mujuru couple

President Mugabe has said he wants to remain in power.
But he may only have support from around a third of the membership of his party's Central Committee, says the BBC's Peter Biles.
There are two opposing factions. One is led by the former armed forces commander, Solomon Mujuru, and his wife Joyce, who is the country's vice-president.
The other is headed by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security minister.
Both sides would like to see Mr Mugabe step aside, not least because under his leadership, Zimbabwe's economy is now out of control.
But it is not clear if anyone will stand up and directly challenge Mr Mugabe.



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