Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is denying media speculation that it has reached a power-sharing agreement with President Robert Mugabe's ruling party. The opposition party says the latest talks on power sharing with the ruling ZANU-PF that resumed last Friday in South Africa did not reach an agreement. The MDC blames the ruling ZANU-PF party for speculating on reaching a power sharing deal.
The peace talks are, however expected to continue despite a deadlock on the power sharing deal. Nelson Chamisa is the spokesman for Zimbabwe's main opposition MDC. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey that although the party is committed to the talks, its stance on the power sharing deal remains the same.
"The reason why they (the MDC negotiating team) went to South Africa was to have bilateral consultations with the South African team as instructed by President Mbeki. At no time did we have a face-to-face meeting with the negotiators of ZANU-PF. It was basically to try and articulate our position and to check if there has been any change of circumstances or facts on the ground vis-à-vis the whole dialogue process. But as it is there hasn't been any change," Chamisa noted.
He said the main bone of contention has been the issue of power sharing.
"We are deadlocked on key issues around the issue of power. We have said it is unheard of to have a prime minister without powers to execute the business of government and that was the case, they (ZANU-PF- didn't want Mr. Tsvangirai as prime minister to have powers, to chair cabinet to have power to discipline people who do not perform in cabinet. And we have had a situation where Mr. Mugabe has had bable authoritarian powers compared to Mr. Tsvangirai's flat file of responsibilities. So, that remains the bone of contention," he said.
Chamisa denied the MDC is power hungry and entrenched in its position during the stalled power sharing talks.
"The objective for us to participate in this negotiation process has been to achieve three major things. The first one was to have a transitional dispensation and of course under the circumstance to have a referendum and to have a people driven constitution. The second item was then to have a situation whereby we a program of national healing and restorative justice across the whole country. And the third issue has to do with the professionalization of the institutions of the state that has been so partisan and biased in a bludgeoned fashion. And those three things are only possible if we have sufficient and power and leverage to execute those problems," Chamisa pointed out.
He said President Mugabe's ruling party has a history of not being totally committed to living up to its side of bargains in negotiations.
"We are dealing with ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF has a legacy of manipulating competitors or manipulating partners," he said.
Chamisa said although the opposition MDC won the last presidential election, it is still committed to finding salting solution to the country's crisis.
"You know that we won the election on the 29 of March. Ideally, and naturally, the president is supposed to be Mr. Tsvangirai, but we have said we are prepared in the spirit of magnanimity to climb down so that we have dialogue with Mr. Mugabe who lost election so, that we have some soft landing of the crisis? and we are motivated by our desire to respond to the issues affecting Zimbabweans, the issue of food, the issue of the humanitarian challenges people are currently encountering. We wanted to respond to them and this is why we are still in the dialogue," Chamisa pointed out.
The power-sharing negotiations reportedly stalled over how executive power should be shared by President Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who refused to sign an agreement that would have made him prime minister two weeks ago. Tsvangirai has protested against the proposed deal, saying it did not give him enough executive powers in government.