Arrests Test Zimbabwe Unity Government

Arrests Test Zimbabwe Unity Government

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Zimbabwe's national unity government got off to a bad start last month, raising doubts about its ability to usher in political stability and economic revival in the country. Most worrying is the infighting within President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, where hardliners led by the country's joint chiefs of staff appear to be opposed to the deal brokered by the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) last year.

The military and security chiefs had previously declared that they would not salute Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the mainstream formation of the splintered opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Now they seem to be doing everything in their power to torpedo the unity government that has elevated the man they accuse of being a Western puppet to the prime minister's office, making him one of their bosses.

In an apparent gesture of disapproval, the chiefs boycotted Tsvangirai's swearing-in ceremony at the State House on Feb. 11 -- the first time since independence in 1980 that they stayed away from a ceremony presided over by Mugabe. The gesture left many wondering what that meant to the all-inclusive government.

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