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Zimbabwe Opposition Dismisses Ruling Party Accusation

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party is blaming main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the ongoing impasse in forming a unity government. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa reportedly accused the MDC of prejudicing the ongoing talks by trying to negotiate in public. The MDC has described the ZANU-PF accusation as unfounded, adding that the ruling party is reneging on its promise to equitably share power as stipulated in the recently signed agreement.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans are reportedly expressing fear that the lack of a breakthrough in the talks could further worsen the economic crisis with an inflation rate of about 11 million percent.

Glen Mpani is the regional coordinator for the Transitional Justice Program of the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey the ruling party is not acting in good faith at the ongoing negotiations.

"I think it is important that we need to understand that the whole idea of blocking the publicity of these negotiations was quite unreasonable, and I think it is the reason we are where we are right now. The ZANU-PF reason for trying to gag the MDC not to publicize what is going on is simply a way of trying to avoid international and regional attention to their machinations to try and ensure that they hold on to power using the allocation of ministries," Mpani noted.

He said the ruling party is breaking its promise in the recently signed power sharing agreement.

"If you would remember the negotiation agreement was signed on the premise that there was going to be a 50-50 power sharing, but ZANU-PF would want to renege on the distribution of posts for governance. So basically, they would want to rake in the MDC as an appendage of ZANU-PF rather than an equal partner in a government of national unity," he said.

Mpani said the ruling ZANU-PF's accusation is unfounded.

"The assertion is not justified because we have got a background and a context to the current crisis in Zimbabwe. It would be foolish on the part of ZANU-PF to assume that they would want to control the ministries like Finance, and they cannot also on to say they want to hold on to Home Affairs because they have told the MDC that they are going to take the Security and the Army ministry and that means they should also have to give the MDC Home Affairs ministry. So, I think what is important is that the key ministries that ZANU-PF is refusing to cede are the ones that are going to drive the process of reforming Zimbabwe," Mpani pointed out.

He said the international community need to be reassured of stability in Zimbabwe before any assistance is given to help resolve the country's economic crisis.

"For regional and international players to start pouring money into the country or to have confidence in the country, they need to see that there is a process of reforming. Someone needs to be in charge that they can trust. The reason why ZANU-PF is refusing to cede these ministries is one they are worried that if Justice and Home Affairs goes to the MDC, they might be prosecuted for human rights abuses that they have committed," he said.

Mpani said the opposition MDC made a mistake by signing the power sharing agreement with President Robert Mugabe's government before negotiations were concluded.

"They (MDC) committed one of their worse errors in their political lives because knowing fully well the political party that they were dealing with they should not have signed the agreement without agreeing on key ministries and who was going to get what. I think at this point in time just assuming that because ZANU-PF has signed then all is well. That I think is too naïve because ZANU-PF would always remain with another chip in the bag to ensure that they maintain the reigns of power," Mpani noted.