Zimbabwe calls for help; gets at least half of it

Zimbabwe calls for help; gets at least half of it

Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called for help today in resolving ongoing disputes within his power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe. That’s disconcerting news. Although ongoing tensions have been widely reported, this is the first outward crack in the fragile unity government since it got up and operational earlier this spring. 

For weeks, negotiations have gone tediously forward with Tsvangirai pushing for more civil liberties, a freer press, the end to opposition arrests, and the finalization of key Ministry posts. Tsvangirai told Foreign Policy last week that progress on oustanding issues was “frustratingly slow.” Today, he at last asked the African Union and Southern African Development Community (who originally brokered the agreement) to come broker the dispute. No word yet from either organization about what will come next.

Meanwhile, good news follows from another request for help — this one longer standing — which was finally answered today. The government of Zimbabwe will recieve a $22 million grant from the World Bank, available within the next weeks. Not only will those $22 million really help the broke state, but it could set a precendent for donors to restart aid to the country. Congratulations are due to Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, who has been in intense negotiations across the world to make this happen.

Now’s let’s hope Tsvangirai has the same luck negotiating with Mugabe. To read more about what that’s like, check out FP‘s full interview with the prime minister here