Mugabe Seeks Sadc Mandate to Form Government

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will seek the mandate of the Sadc Summit in South Africa on Monday to form a government excluding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai with a promise to hold fresh elections within two years, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

 


The summit was called after Sadc chairman, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mozambican leader Amando Guebuza and Zimbabwe unity government deal-broker Thabo Mbeki failed on Monday in Harare to resolve the political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

The deal signed last September between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations has been stalled because of haggling over posts between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Sources in both Zanu PF and the MDC-T told the Independent that the deal had “already collapsed” and the two protagonists were already plotting the way forward.

Mugabe, the sources said, was confident that Sadc would not overrule its decision of November 9 last year that a new government be formed “forthwith”, with Zanu PF and the MDC-T co-managing the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The 84-year-old Mugabe, the sources said, had during his annual leave been consulting Zanu PF bigwigs on the formation of a government after he concluded that the deal would not be consummated because
they were poles apart from Tsvangirai.

“To Mugabe, Monday’s Sadc summit is a mere formality,” one of the sources in Zanu PF said. “He does not expect Sadc to overrule its position of November 9 and at the same time he is not expecting Tsvangirai to move from his stance. No more concessions will come from Zanu PF. Mugabe will ask Sadc to give him the mandate to form a new government.”

The sources said Mugabe, if granted the mandate, would initially leave cabinet posts vacant for both MDCs before filling them after a while and then preparing for fresh elections.

Mugabe and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa last year said if the unity government deal collapsed, new harmonised elections would be held.

Sources in the MDC-T said Tsvangirai was pessimistic that the Sadc summit would break the deadlock and lead to the formation of an inclusive government.

The sources said Tsvangirai had no credible “Plan B” and intended to launch a diplomatic campaign in the region and abroad against Mugabe if he goes ahead and forms a government that excludes the MDC-T.

“It is clear in our party that Sadc will not move. The deal is set to collapse on our watch,” a member of the MDC-T national executive said. “However, Mugabe will have legitimacy problems if he goes it alone.

Tsvangirai will use the lack of legitimacy to discredit the government in the region and internationally.”
Mugabe’s government failed to get recognition in Sadc, the African Union and internationally after last year’s presidential election resulting in Sadc-mediated talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, which culminated in the signing of the inclusive government pact on September 15 2008.

Chinamasa yesterday declined to take questions on the unity deal saying he would address a press conference today.

“All the issues you are raising will be clarified at the press conference,” he said. “You will get the answers then.”

In a statement after visiting cholera patients in Budiriro yesterday, Tsvangirai said Zanu PF was standing in the way of a political settlement.

“MDC was not being obstructionist in the dialogue process, but it was Zanu PF which had to accept the logic and justness of the MDC’s compelling case for equity,” the statement read.

During Monday’s meeting, Mugabe rejected Tsvangirai’s conditions for joining his government, saying his demands were “unacceptable”.

Tsvangirai had demanded control of the “key” Home Affairs, Finance, Information, Agriculture and Local Government ministries. He had proposed that Mugabe take Defence, National Security, Justice, Foreign Affairs and Land. He also demanded the release of political prisoners.

Mugabe rejected Tsvangirai’s proposals insisting the issue of portfolios had been resolved and there was no need to “reopen” it.

Motlanthe, Mbeki and and Guebuza reportedly pushed hard for a compromise, reminding Mugabe and Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe’s deepening humanitarian crisis and its collateral damage on the region, but failed to move the bitter rivals.

Mugabe insisted that he had complied with Sadc recommendations to put measures in place to form an inclusive government, but Tsvangirai had disagreed.

BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE

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