THE European Union (EU) this week threatened to impose fresh sanctions on President Robert Mugabeâ€™s government unless the power-sharing deal with the two formations of the MDC is implemented urgently.
The threat followed the â€œunilateralâ€ decision by Mugabe last Friday to allocate ministerial portfolios without the consent of the two MDC parties leaders â€” Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the deal under the Sadc and African Union initiative, flew into Harare on Monday to salvage the fragile deal.
The United States (US) on Wednesday also accused Mugabe of violating the power-sharing pact.
When the agreement was signed on September 15, the EU and the US welcomed it with cautious optimism saying they were awaiting its implementation before lifting sanctions against the country.
On Monday, EU foreign ministers met in Luxembourg and issued a statement warning Mugabe and his government of fresh sanctions unless he sticks to the unity-government deal.
â€œThe (EU) council stands ready to consider additional measures in case of continued deadlock in the implementation of the September 15 agreement,â€ the EU ministers said in their joint statement.
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara last Friday met and decided that Mbeki should return to Zimbabwe to resolve the deadlock on allocation of ministries. However, within hours of the meeting, the president parcelled out the portfolios.
The MDC alleged that Mugabe wanted â€œpower grabbingâ€ instead of power-sharing after he allocated what they termed key ministries â€“ defence, homes affairs, foreign affairs, local government, justice and information to Zanu PF.
Speaking soon after arrival in Luxembourg for the EU meeting, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Europe should send out a strong signal indicating that it would â€œplay no part in supporting a power grab by President Mugabeâ€™s regime.
â€œIt is important that there is an international united response that says that the results of the elections need to be respected, and a power grab will not be respected,â€ Miliband said.
The US State Department spokesperson, Sean McComark, on Wednesday charged that Mugabe violated provisions of the power-sharing agreement by allocating key government posts to his own party.
â€œPresident Mugabe apparently overstepped the bounds of that agreement in claiming several ministers that were not part of the power-sharing agreement that was brokered,â€ McCormack said from Washington.
EU governments initially wanted to toughen sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle on September 15, but postponed their decision after the signing of the unity government deal the same day.
Current EU sanctions include a ban on Mugabe, his wife, ministers, most of his military chiefs and officials in his government from entering the EU and an arms embargo on Zimbabwe.
The EU sanctions also call for the severing of ties with businesses linked to the Zimbabwean president.
The EU foreign ministers also reiterated their concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe and noted that the European Commission was providing an additional 10 million euros in aid to Zimbabwe.
By Loughty Dube