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Zimbabwe President Wants to End Power-Sharing Agreement


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe looks on during Defense Force Day Commemorations in Harare, (file photo - 10 Aug. 2010)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe looks on during Defense Force Day Commemorations in Harare, (file photo - 10 Aug. 2010)

Zimbabwe's long-time president is calling for an end to the country's fragile coalition government, and for new elections next year.

President Robert Mugabe lashed out against the coalition in remarks carried by state media Friday. He told supporters that things happening within the coalition are "foolish and stupid," and he said the power-sharing agreement should not be renewed when it expires in February.

Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence from Britain in 1980, but he now shares power with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai under a deal signed after disputed elections in 2008.

Tensions between the two have been rising. Last week, Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC party rejected the appointment of several key officials, accusing Mr. Mugabe of violating the power sharing deal.

Mr. Tsvangirai says Mr. Mugabe did not consult with him about the appointments, as required by the power sharing arrangement. Mr. Mugabe insists the appointments are legal.

His call for new elections next year is complicated by delays in drafting a new constitution.

The 2008 agreement requires Zimbabwe to draft a new constitution that would govern any new elections. But efforts to write the new constitution are months behind schedule.

In his remarks Friday, Mr. Mugabe said the country should hold a constitutional referendum before going ahead with elections in mid-2011. But he also said he does not know what will happen if the constitution is not ready in time.

The United States and Europe accuse Mr. Mugabe of driving Zimbabwe to ruin with years of political repression and economic mismanagement, especially the seizure of white-owned commercial farms.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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