Supporters of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe are urgently calling on the ruling party to constitute a government with or without the opposition. The ultimatum reportedly comes after opposition demands for fresh elections if the power-sharing impasse is not promptly resolved. Partisans of the ruling ZANU-PF party blame the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the impasse after the MDC accused President Mugabe of awarding top ministerial positions to his ruling party.
But the opposition contends that only fresh elections would resolve a dispute over who controls key cabinet posts. The ministerial appointments are widely viewed as a make-or-break issue under a power-sharing pact signed with President Mugabe. The political impasse is reportedly raising fears that last month's power-sharing deal may collapse and worsen Zimbabwe's economic crisis.
Sydney Masamvu is a Zimbabwe analyst with the International Crisis Group in South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Pretoria that the ruling party is showing arrogance in the face of economic and political crisis.
"This is a statement coming from the hardliners within the ZANU-PF who from the onset wanted to see this deal collapse. After the 27th of June, when Mugabe claimed that he had won a landslide victory, he did not proceed to form a government, even though he claimed that he had won a landslide election victory for the simple reason that he knew that his so-called landslide victory was a sham," Masamvu said.
He said the ruling party's claim of an overwhelming election run-off win was not credible.
"And there was no way he was going to form a government alone which would be recognized by the rest of the world, and as such, I think this statement is actually meant to perpetuate their self interest. But they are disconnected from the reality on the ground, which actually cries out for a political settlement in Zimbabwe to turn around the fortunes of the country," he noted.
Masamvu said there was need for the opposition to match the ruling ZANU-PF party strategically in the stalled negotiations.
"I think the issue of Morgan Tsvangirai participating or not participating in next Mondays' peace negotiations is actually an issue of power game to leverage his bargaining position. But it is actually important to know that if this agreement fails to take off, then the only option is to go back again to another election which would be internationally supervised in free and fair conditions, which should yield a government chosen by Zimbabweans with a full mandate to put the country on a path to economic and political recovery," Masamvu pointed out.
He said it would be difficult for the ruling party to refuse to accept international supervision of an election if it comes down to it.
"Their choices are fairly limited. They can go it alone and continue to be isolated and have sanctions reinforced. They can compromise. But still what you can see is that events of the past weeks have shown that even if a deal is worked out between ZANU-PF and the MDC and an inclusive government is formed, it is a matter of time before it crumbles, because you can see that there is a lot of mistrust. There seems to be no appetite, and there is no chemistry for the ZANU-PF to work with the MDC in a corporative government. The appetite is really not there, and as such, you can actually see that this deal is actually dead before it even started," he said.
Masamvu said there seems to be too much suspicion from both the ruling party and the opposition MDC which has led to the political impasse.
"What is lacking is actually goodwill from the ruling ZANU-PF, which is scuttling this deal. As much as there is optimism from people who are putting the suffering of the people in the negotiations, they have the optimism and the willingness to make this deal work," Masamvu noted.