Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party says it will not succumb to pressure from outside leaders in negotiations with the main opposition to form a unity government. The ruling party's latest remark ahead of Monday's meeting of regional leaders is expected to further deepen the political impasse between ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The MDC is accusing ZANU-PF of being unwilling to abide by the recently signed power sharing agreement that was expected to lead to a unity government and resolution of the country's economic crisis.
Under the power sharing deal, 13 cabinet posts are to go to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and three others to a smaller opposition faction led by Arthur Mutambara. Deputy chairperson of the National Constitution Assembly George Mkwananzi tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans' struggle to be liberated from President Mugabe's administration has failed.
"I find the statement that was made by Mr. Chinamasa (Zimbabwe's justice minister) quite unfortunate in that it is actually pre-empting the effort of the troika of SADC (Southern African Development Community) to bring about a settlement on this feud over the distribution of cabinet posts between the parties in Zimbabwe. Instead of pre-empting this effort, he should be resigning and allowing everybody else and subjugating everybody else to the decision that is going to be taken there and the advice that would come thereof," Mkwananzi noted.
He said the justice minister's pronouncement is an affront to the stalled, but ongoing negotiations with the MDC, as well as today's meeting of the heads of state in southern African.
"He (Patrick Chinamasa) is already saying that it is a mere consultative process and they are not going to be bound by such a decision. This is very unfortunate," he said.
Mkwananzi said the opposition is in difficult position with the stance taken by the ruling ZANU-PF party.
"I think the MDC has done everything possible and reasonable to make the world understand the kind of intransigency and arrogance that ZANU-PF has been exhibiting. To start with, we should not be in this position where the victorious party had to beg for power sharing and positions from a losing party," Mkwananzi pointed out.
Mkwananzi said the ruling party should have been prevented from claiming to have won the last general election, which the opposition charges was rigged.
"It was a mistake to allow ZANU-PF in the first place to run away with a default outcome of an election. I think that was a mistake for both SADC and AU (African Union). What could have been done was to exert immense pressure on the Mugabe regime and ZANU-PF, which should now have realized that they could not have gotten away with murder," Mkwananzi said.
He said Zimbabweans should blame themselves for the problems President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party are imposing on the impasse.
"In my view, it is the people of Zimbabwe who have let down the MDC leadership in that the leadership of the MDC has consistently and incessantly called for certain mass actions, only to have a few people responding to it. You can of course blame it to the fear that Robert Mugabe regime would crush them. But I tell you no leadership can bring about a new dispensation without the support of the masses. The people of Zimbabwe, if they truly want a new democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe, they need to assist their leadership to bring about that. Otherwise, no sweat, no gain," he said.
Mkwananzi said both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community have not lived up to ensuring that the mandate given to the opposition in the general election is upheld.
"They definitely must do better than what they are doing at the moment because their business leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, they are making a mockery of their own existence because it means that they are not assisting their member state. They are not assisting their member state. They are simply endorsing even a default outcome of an election instead of taking head on the culprit. They tend to let them slip through the fingers," Mkwananzi pointed out.