MDC will accept nothing short of a powerful PM position – Tsvangirai

NAIROBI – Zimbabwe’s Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said that his Movement for Democratic Change party will accept nothing short of a powerful prime minister position.

He said MDC did not just want to share positions with the ruling Zanu-PF of President Mugabe but required necessary authority to run government.

“If we are going to create a prime minister position, he or she should have responsibility to run government, Mr Tsvangirai told a hurriedly convened international press conference at Nairobi’s Intercontinental Hotel.

He was speaking after holding talks with Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Mr Tsvangirai said it is the framework on roles of the proposed PM and President that have stalled the talks between his party and Zanu-PF.

He was categorical that he will not accept to serve as a junior to President Robert Mugabe.

“If we are going to create a position of prime minister, not only should he or she have authority to run government but should also have powers to drive government. One cannot be a junior partner to another. It is not the sharing of position but it is the sharing of power.”

He said the roles of both the PM and president for the two and half years of transition were a fundamental basis for the talks.

Mr Tsvangirai said one of the big questions in the talks was how to distinguish between Head of State and Head of Government.

“This new creation (Prime Minister) has to take into consideration the local reality. It has to distinguish between theory and practice. It is not everything written on paper that will be actual experience. What happens in government is not what is signed,” he said.

He said the Memorandum of Understanding between MDC and Zanu-PF also relied on the building of trust between Mr Mugabe and himself.

Mr Tsvangirai said the crisis in Zimbabwe was so deep that there was an urgent need for a quick resolution to the problem.

“People have no food. They have nothing. We want to find a solution because of the difficulties people are facing.”

He said the problem in Zimbabwe required an African-based solution that he will continue pursuing.

Zimbabwe political leaders are holding power sharing talks following a disputed presidential election, which President Mugabe was the sole candidate. MDC’S Tsvangirai had won the first poll but did not gain a majority to avoid a run-off.

Mr Tsvangirai pulled out the second round of balloting citing violence and intimidation on his supporters.