PRIME Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai has slammed President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF for negotiating in bad faith over the allocation of government ministries and other aspects of the power-sharing agreement.
Tsvangiraiâ€™s assault on Mugabe came just days before the resumption on Monday of talks on the distribution of ministries which have been dragging on for about a month.
The attack reveals renewed tensions between the two bitter political rivals. The move is also part of Tsvangiraiâ€™s broad strategy to mobilise regional and international opinion against Mugabe ahead of the talks in Harare on Monday.
Tsvangirai told African diplomats yesterday in the capital that Mugabe and his party were not honest in the talks as shown by his failure to attend the Sadc troika meeting in Mbabane, Swaziland, earlier this week. The MDC leader briefed diplomats on the talks on allocation of ministries, the ground covered so far, and the problems encountered.
Sources said he spoke about what he described as Mugabeâ€™s lack of sincerity in the talks, disrespect for African leaders and institutions, deception, acting in bad faith, and giving the MDC responsibilities without authority.
Tsvangirai is said to have expressed frustration with the way Mugabe has been behaving since the signing of the main agreement last month. It is understood he also dealt with the issue of former South African president Thabo Mbeki whom he said was not an impartial mediator.
This followed Mbekiâ€™s report to the Sadc troika, which endorsed Mugabeâ€™s gazetting of ministries on October 10, including the allocation of finance to Tsvangirai and rotation of Home Affairs between Zanu PF and the main MDC faction.
The MDC leader also dealt with the controversial issue of his passport, which he has been denied by the government. Â
Tsvangirai failed to attend a Sadc meeting in Swaziland on Monday due to problems over his travel document. He is currently using an emergency travel document because he has no passport. The government claims it cannot give him a new passport because it has no special paper to process it due to targeted sanctions by the West which they blame on the MDC.
Before briefing African diplomats yesterday, Tsvangirai had on Wednesday also briefed envoys from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The OECD is an international organisation of 30 countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and free-market economies.
Those present at the meeting, held at the Spanish ambassadorâ€™s residence, were from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Austria, Italy, Greece, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Portugal. Â
Tsvangirai said the fallout over his passport, which symbolised the limit on freedom of movement, was evidence that Mugabe was not sincere. He also wondered why Mugabe flew to Swaziland on a state aircraft, using public resources and leaving him behind.
Leader of the smaller formation of the MDC Arthur Mutambara on Monday attacked government over the Tsvangirai passport saga and warned that if the talks failed he would not join government, but would instead campaign for its further isolation.
South Africaâ€™s governing ANC leader Jacob Zuma this week criticised as â€œweirdâ€ governmentâ€™s decision not to give Tsvangirai a passport to go to Swaziland.
â€œNow you cannot have this kind of a situation when you are dealing with such an important matter. One of the very key figures cannot attend because he does not have a passport. I think that sounds weird,â€ Zuma said.
â€œIf we have a package that has been agreed upon, hailed by the world, why should we have difficulty implementing it? After all, this is not a permanent arrangement. We are talking about an interim arrangement. Why should it be so difficult?â€
Sources said Tsvangirai told diplomats that for the MDC the â€œbottom line in the deadlock and its resolution was the ministries of finance and home affairsâ€. Talks broke down last week largely over home affairs.
Â However, the MDC says there is still a problem over ministries of local government, foreign affairs, lands and agriculture, information, women, youth, justice and defence. Although defence has gone to Mugabe as the head of state and government, the MDC is using it to bargain for home affairs.
The failure by Mugabe and MDC leaders to agree on ministries has taken the Zimbabwe crisis back into the international spotlight. Top United Nations envoy Haile Menkerios, who is involved in the Zimbabwe issue as part of the mediation, was yesterday set to discuss the political crisis with Swazilandâ€™s King Mswati, the chair of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security.
The talks come three days after Mswati failed to host the Sadc meeting in Mbabane due to the passport saga.
Menkerios, also set to discuss the conflict in Congo and other regional security issues with Mswati, was expected to put pressure on the Swazi leader to get tougher with Mugabe on the issue. Sadc leaders are growing impatient with Mugabe, diplomats say.
Menkerios on Tuesday voiced confidence that a deal would be reached in Zimbabwe on Monday.
â€œI am confident that a deal will be reached between the two because both sides know by now that there is no other way but to sit down and reach an agreement,â€ he said in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The MDC said yesterday Tsvangirai would attend the Harare meeting on Monday.
By Dumisani Muleya/Constantine ChimakureÂ