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Zimbabwe's Opposition Leader Wants German Financial Expertise

The financial crisis which has Zimbabwe in its stranglehold, creating nationwide poverty and starvation, would be one of the main challenges opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai would tackle first if he becomes president.

An unidentified man holds the new 50 million Zimbabwean dollar note

Zimbabwe's massive inflation is unprecedented outside of a war-zone

Inflation in Zimbabwe -- fuelled by excessive printing of money and multiple exchange rates -- stands at around 165,000 percent, the highest in the world and an unprecedented situation in a country not involved in a war.

Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has announced that should he be elected head of state, healing the country's broken financial institutions would be one of his first objectives -- with the help of experts from Germany's Bundesbank.

Tsvangirai's statement, first reported by Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper and later confirmed through diplomatic sources, includes a desire to employ two employees of the German Central Bank as advisors to Zimbabwe's state bank in one of his first acts as president.

The German advisors would be given wide-ranging power and authority to complete their main task of stopping inflation getting further out-of-control and eventually reducing it to a much lower sustainable level.

Government mouthpiece latches on to German plan

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party

Tsvangirai is the target of an alleged smear campaign

The Herald, a mouthpiece of Robert Mugabe's regime, has used the statement from the incumbent president's most likely successor to further extend a campaign painting Tsvangirai as "a puppet of the white man." It is suspected that the initial reports of Tsvangirai's plan to hire German financial advisors were collected from tapped telephone conversations.

Tsvangirai has been portrayed as the "odd-job man" of the past British colonial powers in Zimbabwe who wants to hand control of farm land and territory back into "the claws" of the former white colonists who controlled the country before it was given its independence in 1980.

Mugabe has used the defense of Zimbabwe against the colonists as one of the main pillars of his presidency since he took charge of the country 28 years ago. His regime has carried out repatriation of colonial farmland as well as the expulsion of white farmers. It now appears that his potential last throw of the political dice will also hinge on labeling his rival a traitor to Zimbabwe's independence.

While the official results of the presidential vote have yet to be announced nearly two weeks after it took place, Tsvangirai is widely expected to be named the new president if the results are released. Zimbabwe is in a state of limbo as Tsvangirai campaigns for a swift resolution to the political stasis.

Opposition floats unity government idea

The MDC leader indicated on Wednesday, April 9, that he was open to the formation of a unity government with elements of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

People queue for food in front of election posters with portraits of main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare

The MDC wants a resolution to the poll uncertainty

Speaking to South African radio from Botswana where he held talks with President Seretse Ian Khama, Tsvangirai said that, once Zimbabwe's election standoff was resolved, "we must move towards forming a government that has space for everyone."

Such a government would be a "more inclusive government that is not exclusive to just MDC," he said.

Asked what role 84-year-old Mugabe would have in such a formation Tsvangirai, 56, said that "would be subject to discussion," but that he thought Zimbabwe's leader of the past 28 years should retire.

Tsvangirai is on a tour of African countries to court support for his declaration of victory over Mugabe in March 29 elections. On Monday he met with the president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, Jacob Zuma.

MDC leader rules out new Mugabe presidency

Tsvangirai claims he won outright with 50.3 percent of the vote, but a non-profit election observation organization estimated that, based on a sample of the results, neither he nor Mugabe took more than the 50 percent-plus-one vote needed to avert a second round.

Council workers remove the campaign posters of President Robert Mugabe in Harare

It may be time for Mugabe to step down after 28 years

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is demanding a recount of the vote and is also challenging its defeat in elections to the 210-seat lower house of parliament, the House of Assembly.

Tsvangirai rejected a scenario where Mugabe would remain president and the opposition, which won 109 of the 210-seats in the House of Assembly, would control parliament.

Mugabe, in that case, would be a "lame-duck president," said Tsvangirai. "I think it would be a constitutional crisis."

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