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"Solution to crisis lies within" says analyst

[Zimbabwe] Zanu-pf political rally, Harare, April 2001.
Zimbabwe will hold legislative elections on 31 March (IRIN)

While South Africa is well-placed to resolve Zimbabwe's political troubles, the solution to the country woes lies in the hands of its leaders, according to analysts.

Chris Maroleng, a researcher at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, described as "unfortunate" the decision this week by Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) not to participate in any South Africa-led initiative to end the political imbroglio.

"The MDC should reconsider its decision, but it is becoming increasingly evident that Zimbabweans should encourage conflict resolution and dialogue [locally] to resolve its own crisis," he said.

The MDC announced this week that it did not consider South Africa "an honest broker". "The fact that it took a partisan position by declaring the recently concluded elections as free and fair - it is in no position to broker dialogue between the MDC and the [ruling]ZANU-PF," MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, told IRIN.

Themba Nyathi noted that the MDC would, however, participate in initiatives to broker peace led by the Southern African Development Community.

Claiming irregularities, the MDC has challenged the results of the 31 March parliamentary elections in the electoral court.

The South African cabinet last week described the poll as "a credible reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe".

Government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe reportedly told a press briefing that the cabinet had noted that various missions which had observed the Zimbabwean elections "were at one that the conduct of these elections was much, much better than those in 2000 and 2002".

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki reportedly told parliament last week that the government would accept the outcome of the various probes into Zimbabwe's recent elections, even if they were declared not free and fair.

Mbeki said the foreign affairs department had received a report from the MDC on the challenges it had launched in the electoral court, as well as from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, and was also awaiting input from the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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