Accessibility links

Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Commits to Cabinet Negotiations


Zimbabwean opposition leader and prime-minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai says he is still committed to resolving the cabinet allocation issue that is threatening Zimbabwe's power sharing agreement. He was speaking at a rally in Harare attended by Tendai Maphosa who files this report for VOA.

The president of the Movement for Democratic Change accused President Robert Mugabe of acting in bad faith when he allocated all key ministries to his ruling Zanu-PF party. And this Mr. Tsvangirai added after the parties had agreed to invite mediator Thabo Mbeki to try to break the deadlock. Despite this, he said he is not turning his back on dialogue.

"The only solution to the crisis facing the country is to dialogue, is to talk, is to negotiate," he said.

Mr. Tsvangirai met with Mr. Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara who leads a breakaway faction of the MDC on Friday. Their talks were deadlocked and they agreed to call in Mr. Mbeki. But a few hours later, Mr. Mugabe reportedly signed a government gazette allocating all the key ministries to his party.

Mr. Tsvangirai says while he is prepared to compromise, there are some bottom lines and one of them is control of the police force.

"If Zanu takes defense we take home affairs, it is not negotiable," he added.

The opposition accuses Mr. Mugabe's government of using the police to persecute, rather than protect the people.

He also said the ministry of finance needs to go to his party as the ruling party has run the country's economy into the ground. On the list published in the state-controlled Herald daily newspaper on Saturday, finance was not allocated to any of the parties. The paper said it was the only disputed portfolio.

Mr. Tsvangirai said the list gazetted by the president has nothing to do with power sharing, rather, he added it is all about power grabbing.

"We have no right to be part of such an arrangement," he said. "If it means that we have to suffer some more in order to get what the people really expect; then we will suffer some more."

The three parties signed the power-sharing deal on September 15, after inconclusive elections earlier this year. Under the agreement mediated by former South African president Mbeki, Zanu-PF is to get 15 posts of the 31-member cabinet while the main MDC party led by Morgan Tsvangirai gets 13. The remaining three go to the smaller faction of the MDC.

XS
SM
MD
LG