Mugabe Hangs On To ‘Key’ Ministries

 

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Wednesday convened a Zanu PF politburo meeting at Zimbabwe House where party bigwigs reportedly told him to dig in and not cede key ministries to the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.

 


Sources in Zanu PF said Mugabe held the meeting a few hours before he attended a new round of negotiations with the leaders of the two formations of the MDC –– Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara –– under the mediation of former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Normally, politburo meetings are held at the Zanu PF headquarters.
The sources said Mugabe briefed the politburo on what transpired in Tuesday’s round of talks.
He reportedly said there was “little movement” in resolving the deadlock on the allocation of ministries with Tsvangirai insisting on having the ministries of foreign affairs and home affairs.
Party heavyweights, the sources said, told the 84-year-old Mugabe to remain steadfast, as ceding powerful ministries to the MDC would be tantamount to destroying Zanu PF.
“The bigwigs were adamant that Mugabe should not accept anything besides the ministries he gazetted on Friday,” one of the sources said. “The heavyweights said anything else would be unacceptable to them.”
Efforts to get a comment on the politburo meeting from Zanu PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi last night were in vain as he was not answering his mobile phone.
The deadlock on allocation of ministries is threatening the power-sharing agreement signed between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara on September 15.
The unity-government deal is fiercely opposed by hardliners in Zanu PF who argue that Mugabe sold out.
As reported in the Zimbabwe Independent last week, there are divisions in Zanu PF on three levels over the pact.
Mugabe’s key ally Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was not in the party’s negotiating team, was reportedly not happy with the deal because he expected to secure one of the initial three posts of deputy prime minister. The posts were later reduced to two and Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe from the MDC-Tsvangirai would occupy them.
Mnangagwa, the sources said, now wanted to take charge of security to compensate for his loss. He is reportedly eyeing the Ministry of Defence or Home Affairs.
His allies who campaigned for Mugabe for the June 27 presidential election run-off were also disgruntled because they were unlikely to land cabinet posts in the unity government.
The Zanu PF faction led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru is also said to be angry that his members were likely to be purged from government structures for not campaigning and in opposing Mugabe’s continued leadership under the guise of a deal.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is said to be also unhappy because the imminent arrival of Tsvangirai as prime minister has overshadowed her and co-vice-president Joseph Msika.
The deal says executive power would now be shared between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and cabinet, leaving Mujuru and Msika out of the loop.

 

By Constantine Chimakure