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Zimbabwe Opposition Rejects Blame Over Power-Sharing Negotiations Collapse


Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is dismissing as hogwash accusation that it is to be blamed for the collapse of Monday's power-sharing negotiations with the ruling ZANU-PF party. President Robert Mugabe's government accused opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of backing away from a solution proposed by South Africa's President Kgalema Motlanthe. It also accused the MDC of being manipulated by Western Powers, which it claims is preventing the progress of forming a unity government talks. This comes after the ruling party announced acting finance minister Patrick Chinamasa would be presenting the 2009 budget to parliament tomorrow (Thursday). The presentation of the budget was postponed in anticipation of the formation of a unity government. George Mkwananzi is a political analyst. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that President Mugabe and his cohorts blame the country's woes on everybody except themselves.

"This is not surprising coming from Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF because they have never accepted frankly their role in the destruction of the country. They have never accepted a single thing in terms of the current crisis; they have always blamed the MDC and western countries. Now, as we face this kind of scenario, it would mean that Zimbabwe is taken back to square one because there is nothing really optimistic that the nation can look forward to," Mkwananzi pointed out.

He described as an unfortunate the ruling ZANU-PF's decision to leave the opposition out of the new government announced recently by President and which is supposed to be in place next month.

"If Mugabe decides to go it alone without the MDC that only goes to confirm that he is a fool. Only a fool in this context in the deterioration and decay of the conditions in Zimbabwe will decide to go it alone. We know that the Robert Mugabe regime has lost all solutions that were put in place in order to salvage the nation or the country Zimbabwe. So, if they decide to go it alone, it means it is doom for the country and if only somebody can advise them against such a foolish way of self destruction," he said.

Mkwananzi said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai seems to be more concerned about the suffering or ever worsening plight of the ordinary Zimbabwean.

"You can see that this is a statement of someone who is honestly and frankly concerned about the lives of the people in his country. He does not make it appear as if he pulled a diplomatic victory or anything on Robert Mugabe. You could see that he was committed to seeing this inclusive deal working, but unfortunately on the other side of the table the negotiators seem not to have the interest of the people of Zimbabwe at heart," Mkwananzi pointed out.

He said the opposition demands are not anything extraordinary that should prevent the peace negotiations from being finally concluded.

"You just have to look at the demands that the MDC put on the table. They are very reasonable and asking Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF to put into the open as to which posts would go to MDC in terms of ministries, in terms of diplomatic missions, and in terms of the senior civil service that is a very reasonable demand, which one would have expected any reasonable negotiator on the other side to accept," he said.

The ruling ZANU-PF party blamed opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the breakdown of Monday night's power-sharing discussions mediated by South African and Mozambican leaders, adding that the opposition is being inherently manipulated by Western powers. But the ruling party also said it would continue to hold discussions with the opposition to find ways of ending the stalemate and form a unity government.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's budget which is traditionally presented in November, was agreed to be postponed ahead of the formation of an inclusive government between the ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC.

The budget is presented in the form of a Finance Bill and an Appropriation Bill, which usually addresses different fiscal measures that the government plans to introduce. It includes among others issues such as how government intends to collect tax and other financial measures aimed at raising money for the government's developmental agenda.


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