Disagreements Scupper Talks

POWER-SHARING talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations were adjourned after disagreements on the role President Robert Mugabe should play in a unity government, one of the negotiators has said.

 

Lovemore Moyo, the chairperson of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC, told civil society leaders in Bulawayo on Wednesday that the sticking points in the talks were over who should wield more power between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in a new government.

“The talks are currently deadlocked as a result of disagreements on who should have executive powers,” Moyo said.

“The MDC proposed a transitional authority with a titular head of state and a prime minister with executive powers, but Zanu PF proposed that Mugabe should have executive powers and should appoint cabinet and chair cabinet meetings.”

Moyo, who came under fire from civil society leaders who wanted to know the finer details of the proposed deal, said Zanu PF wanted an “ordinary” prime minister in charge of specific ministries.

“We felt it would be wrong for the MDC to accept Mugabe as executive president and our view was that he steps down or becomes a titular head of state and those are the issues we are deadlocked on,” he said.

The talks were being held under a veil of secrecy and during the three-hour meeting with civil society leaders, Moyo had trouble skirting questions on the finer details of the talks.

Moyo, however, said the MDC refused to call for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

“We refused to call for the scrapping of the sanctions. We clearly stated that it was not us who said Zanu PF supporters should beat up and rape people and we made it clear that it was not us who called for the sanctions,” Moyo said.

He said people should not blame Tsvangirai for not signing the agreement as he had the MDC national council mandate and parameters to meet.

“When we entered into talks we sat down as the national council to get a mandate and parameters for the talks and we were negotiating for a transitional government as the only way forward,” Moyo said.

“We also entered talks on the basis of the March 29 elections and these were fundamental points we could not compromise on.”

Questioned on the agenda of the talks, Moyo said it was framed by the African Union and was not debatable and there was no way it could have been changed.

Moyo also scoffed at allegations that Tsvangirai was taking instructions from the West saying the MDC had capable and educated people to advise the opposition leader.

“Tsvangirai did not sign the agreement because he has to consult the national council on sticking issues. There is no way we can take advice from outsiders, we are Zimbabweans and the MDC has leaders who are educated and are of high competence,” Moyo said.

By Loughty Dube

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