Mugabe In Quandary Over Cabinet

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is in a quandary on forming a government despite getting the go ahead from Sadc and his politburo.

As it stands, Zanu PF does not have the required two-thirds majority to amend the constitution to facilitate implementation of the September 15 power-sharing agreement with the MDC factions.
Although Mugabe might between today and the weekend announce his cabinet without the MDC formations, his party would not be able to fully implement the Sadc resolution and the agreement without the opposition.
Zanu PF currently has 97 seats and the combined MDC factions 108 in a 210-member House of Assembly. The remainder of the seats are vacant either through death or other circumstances like the election of Lovemore Moyo as speaker of parliament.
At least 140 MPs are needed to vote for a constitutional amendment.
Mugabe is likely to form his long-awaited government anytime now after his party backed a resolution by regional leaders last weekend to do so.
The move might push Zimbabwe over the precipice if the MDC finally refuses to be part of Mugabe’s government. Without the MDC, Mugabe will not secure the international assistance he so badly needs.
After the Sadc resolution that Mugabe and MDC faction leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara go home and form a government, the opposition swiftly rejected the decision.  
Tsvangirai said he was not joining Mugabe’s government without the Ministry of Home Affairs. Sadc ruled that Mugabe and Tsvangirai should share the ministry.
However, Tsvangirai refused, saying there was no equity in the distribution of ministries after Sadc endorsed Mugabe’s proposal initially supported by the mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and later by the Sadc troika currently running the organ on politics, defence and security.  
The Zanu PF politburo on Wednesday resolved that Mugabe must go ahead and form a government immediately with or without the MDC.
Mugabe will invite the MDC to submit nominations for a power-sharing cabinet.
Information minister and senior politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu confirmed the politburo had endorsed the Sadc resolution and Mugabe would appoint a cabinet “with immediate” effect in compliance with the Sadc resolution.
However, the MDC has rejected calls to work with Mugabe. Tsvangirai’s  MPs resolved on Wednesday not to be involved and the party’s national executive and national council will today adopt resolutions not to go in.
Sources said Mugabe was however still hoping Tsvangirai would come in because proceeding without him, as Mutambara has said, would not work.
Mugabe was by yesterday expected to have sent out invitations to the MDC factions to submit a list of proposed cabinet ministers, but he had not yet done so.
Sources said Mugabe sounded triumphant at the politburo meeting although it was also clear that he wished the MDC could accept the Sadc resolution.
Mugabe, sources said, gave a brief account of what had transpired at the Sadc summit, saying it was a good meeting and regional leaders had listened and supported Zanu PF and its negotiating team’s position on the distribution of ministries, especially Home Affairs.
The politburo thanked Sadc leaders and Mbeki for a “job well done”.
However, after the Sadc resolution was read to the politburo it became clear to some that it would be difficult for Mugabe and Zanu PF to go it alone.
The Sadc resolution said since no government was formed in Zimbabwe after elections, leaders must go home and form one.  
The summit decided that the inclusive government be formed forthwith in Zimbabwe; the Ministry of Home Affairs be co-managed between Zanu PF and MDC-T and the efficacy of the arrangement be reviewed after six months by the parties with the assistance of the guarantors, Sadc, AU and the facilitator (Mbeki).
To give effect to these decisions and the provisions of the Global Political Agreement, Sadc said, parties must, without any further delay, introduce the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 19.
Sources said the politburo noted but ignored the reality that Mugabe and his party would come unstuck in amending the constitution without the MDC factions. It was said this might result in Mugabe only announcing his 15 ministers, while leaving space for the MDC factions’ 16.
This means Mugabe would be unable to fully implement the Sadc resolution and the situation would remain the same. There would be no inclusive government and Mugabe’s legitimacy would be questioned again since Sadc did not endorse his controversial re-election on June 27 after a fierce campaign of violence and brutality.
Mugabe had lost the first round on March 29 to Tsvangirai before he stormed back via a campaign of terror.

By Dumisani Muleya