PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF are refusing to concede the Ministry of Home Affairs to the MDC because they believe the opposition party is plotting to destabilise the country.
The allegations by Zanu PF against the MDC now lie at the heart of the deadlock in the distribution of ministries.
Sources said Zanu PF last week told Sadc troika leaders heading the organ on politics, defence and security that the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai was training militias in a neighbouring state, meaning Botswana, to destabilise the country.
Political tensions rose dramatically between Zimbabwe and Botswana this week ahead of the crunch Sadc summit on the crisis. President Ian Khama on Monday called for fresh elections in Zimbabwe to resolve the stalemate, provoking an angry reaction by Harare which described his remarks as an â€œextreme act of provocationâ€.
Zanu PFâ€™s claims of the MDCâ€™s subversive plot were contained in a document presented to the regional leaders who met in Harare last week in a bid to break the impasse over ministries.
Zanu PF alleged that the MDC was plotting acts of banditry to destabilise government and oust Mugabe. Sources said this is what Mugabe and his party will present at this weekendâ€™s extraordinary Sadc summit on Zimbabwe at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
The meeting was called to resolve the deadlock over the allocation of key ministries, particularly Home Affairs. Although the Sadc troika last week said only Home Affairs remained unsettled, the MDC said there were 10 ministries in dispute.
Sources said Zanu PF would provide documents â€œprovingâ€ their claims of the MDCâ€™s plot of subversion and insurgency to justify why it would not let go of Home Affairs. The ministry has the police, immigration and customs, and national registry departments under it.
Some of the documents on MDCâ€™s alleged banditry have already been presented to Sadc leaders at previous summits. The documents claim that the MDC is â€œfomenting and perpetrating acts of violence against Zanu PFâ€.
Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa has insinuated that Western intelligence services have decided to turn Tsvangirai into a warlord like the late Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.
Chinamasa first made these allegations in public on the day of talks on Monday last week. Since then the state media have been intensifying the allegations that the MDC was morphing into an insurgent movement like Savimbiâ€™s Unita.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday dismissed the allegations as â€œincredibly ridiculousâ€.
â€œItâ€™s typical of Zanu PF when they have a sinister agenda and under circumstances of desperation. As usual they concoct charges, create false stories to justify targeting and victimisation of their political competitors,â€ Chamisa said.
â€œThey have done this many times before. They did it against Joshua Nkomo and Zapu, against Ndabaningi Sithole and his party, against Edgar Tekere and Zum and of course against Tsvangirai and the MDC. But all their allegations always end up being shown to be false.â€
Chamisa said it was â€œpreposterousâ€ to claim Tsvangirai and the MDC want to be like Savimbi and Unita.
â€œWhy on earth would Tsvangirai, the most popular politician in the land who defeated Mugabe in March, want to be like Savimbi? Why would the MDC, when it beat Zanu PF in elections in March, want to be like Unita when it controls parliament and local municipalities? The whole issue is ridiculous propaganda.â€
Chamisa said Tsvangirai and the MDC had no reason after â€œwinning free and fair elections in Marchâ€ to resort to banditry. â€œIf anything, itâ€™s Zanu PF which might want to entertain that because they have no support among the people,â€ he said.
â€œRebel movements are usually illegitimate groups which however think they have a legitimate cause. The MDC is obviously not like that. Maybe Zanu PF.â€
During the 1980s, Mugabe and Zanu PF accused Nkomo and Zapu of all sorts of crimes, including insurgency, subversion and treason. Most top Zapu leaders were dismissed from government, arrested and tortured on charges that were later thrown out by the courts. Nkomo accused Mugabe of making the allegations to justify a crackdown on Zapu which led to the massacre of at least 20 000 civilians.
A series of similar allegations against Sithole, Tsvangirai and many other Zanu PF opponents have also been found by the courts to be false. The MDC leader has faced treason charges but was acquitted in all cases.Â
The charges usually include plotting a coup or assassinating Mugabe and hence treason, subversion, banditry, insurgency and other such serious allegations.
Â In 1981, the chief whip of Ian Smithâ€™s Rhodesian Front Wally Stuttaford was arrested and tortured on allegations of plotting a coup after conducting talks with Zapu on forming an alliance to oppose Zanu PF in parliament.
The charges against him -â€“â€“ like all others including Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku â€“â€“ were dismissed by the courts.
By Dumisani Muleya