Zimbabwe deal looks dead, MDC now appealing to Mbeki – Chamisa

HARARE – Zimbabwe's much-vaunted power-sharing deal seems to be on the rocks, after Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai again failed to break the deadlock over the allocation of cabinet portfolios.\r\n

Tsvangirai and Mugabe met in Harare on Tuesday, after the latter’s return from New York and tried to unravel the stalemate, which their negotiators had failed to resolve.

Mugabe, upon his arrival in Harare on Monday, had declared there was no stalemate and that a new cabinet would be appointed by the end of the week.

Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson Nelson Chamisa confirmed that Mugabe and Tsvangirai had met but had failed to resolve the stalemate over the allocation of cabinet portfolios.

Chamisa told The Zimbabwe Mail that the MDC would now appeal to mediator Thabo Mbeki and the guarantors of Mbeki’s mediation, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union, to intervene and try to break the impasse.

Chamisa said Mugabe was demanding "to be at the centre and marrow of the new government".

"We are still poles apart in terms of the allocation of ministries to achieve legitimate power-sharing," Chamisa said.

Chamisa said Mugabe had demanded control of all key ministries including Finance, Home Affairs, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Information, Mines, Agriculture and Youth Affairs.

"This approach of claiming the marrow of the government while peripherising the MDC is completely unacceptable," he said.

"The mistake that Zanu-PF is making is to imagine that we are desperate to be in the government. We are not in a hurry to be chauffeur-driven. We are a people-driven party."

Chamisa said the arrangement proposed by Mugabe would make the MDC "a mere cosmetic accessory and mere lipstick" to a government effectively controlled by Mugabe. "We have said no to his proposals," Chamisa said.

He said many of the social ministries being allocated to the MDC like Correctional Services, Infrastructure Development and others would leave the MDC unable to define a new course for Zimbabwe despite its winning the first round of elections on March 29, which were hailed by the international community as having been largely credible.

Chamisa said the matter was now in the hands of the mediator, SADC and the AU.

He emphasised that in view of the enormous suffering of the people of Zimbabwe, their intervention was acutely urgent.

Tsvangirai earlier this week called for the urgent constitution of an all-inclusive government to try to begin resolving Zimbabwe’s sustained economic collapse.