The situation in Zimbabwe has gone beyond “critical” into a human disaster stage in which unemployment has now reached 90% and inflation is at a 250,000,000% rate while million s have fled the country in search of any form of work. Movement for Democratic Change,(MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has decided to accept the position of prime minister of a unity government even though common sense suggests Robert Mugabe will not surrender any power to his opponent. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has urged Tsvangirai to assume the position and promised it would help ensure a genuine sharing of power. Unfortunately, the SADC is not able to guarantee that will ever happen.
Tsvangirai was faced with a lose-lose position. If he refused to enter the “coalition government,” it meant disaster, if he enters the coalition government it may only result in the disaster being blamed on him as well as on Mugabe. The SADC promised to ensure a 12 member supervisory board would make certain there would be sharing of power, but that is a hope rather than an assurance.
The exist of Prime Minister Olmert will be accompanied by the entry of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni who will soon become the new prime minister. The undecided question is whether Livni will work toward building bridges of peace with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. As a first step Livni met with Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak who is expected to play a key role in any coalition government that emerges provided Livni and he can put aside their personal conflicts with one another. Barak has been assured of a “full partnership” with Livni.
Creating a coalition government that is strong enough to withstand pressure from right wing groups which oppose meaningful compromises with Palestinian leaders is the greatest challenge confronting Livni. She is still attempting to cope with the apparent anger of Shaul Mofaz’s announcement that after losing the fight to become the party leader, he is leaving the political world.
After months of confusion and turmoil, Lebanon finally has a government and there is some hope it might result in being able to confront serious problems that have been left on the way side due to an inability of bringing diverse groups together. Hezbollah will have a veto on any action taken and former General Michel Suleiman will assume the office of presidency. In a sense, the trouble is just beginning for Lebanon which must decide if Hezbollah is to retain its arms. At present, Hezbllah due to its powerful military force is able to hold off any action by the Lebanese army to make it conform to government decisions.
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora believes the urgent needs are regaining confidence by the world in the ability of Lebanon to govern itself and to prepare for upcoming elections. There are important goals, but more important is the role of Syria and Iran in using money and power to influence decisions within Lebanon. Frankly, the situation if too unstable and confused to have much confidence things will work out OK.