Chinamasa dismises AU call for 50/50 power deal

HARARE – Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF has rejected calls by African Union chair, Tanzania that executive power should be split equally between Mugabe and opposition president Morgan Tsvangirai in a government of national unity.

Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe told journalists in Dar es Salaam a solution to end the growing economic crisis in Zimbabwe needs to be found ‘immediately’ and added the Tanzanian government wants to a see a solution ‘towards a 50 percent power-sharing solution’.

Patrick Chinamasa, ZANU PF’s chief negotiator in the talks with the MDC has since said the ZANU PF would not agree to cede more power to Tsvangirai than what he has already been offered under a deal endorsed by the Southern African Development Community. According to the proposed deal, Mugabe is to remain executive president in charge of both state and government, while Tsvangirai would have virtually ceremonial role as prime minister in charge of government policy, but without the power to hire or fire government ministers. He would also not be able to chair cabinet meetings.

The inter party talks have since hit a dead end after Tsvangirai, who under the stalled deal would be required to report regularly to Mugabe, refused to sign the deal saying he could not be prime minister without executive power.

Chinamasa is a reported as saying that as far as the ZANU PF government is concerned, there are no longer any outstanding issues to be debated in talks. He added on the call for 50/50 power sharing: ‘What powers should we cede to Tsvangirai when a deal was agreed to, only for him to renege after consulting outside forces. The party, government and SADC were satisfied with the powers Tsvangirai was going to enjoy as prime minister.’

The MDC however has welcomed Tanzania’s call for a review of the current deal on the table but emphasised that any power-sharing should be based on the March 29 presidential and parliamentary elections won by, Tsvangirai. MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel on Wednesday that the talks will remain deadlocked until ZANU PF cedes Tsvangirai more power. He added that Tanzania’s position ‘makes room for an understanding to be reached’ but explained that Mugabe and his cronies were ‘impeding the talks further’ by their refusal to give Tsvangirai more power.

Chamisa said the MDC will work to ensure that Mugabe is not recognised as the country’s legitimate leader ‘in case the dialogue collapses’ and argued that the country’s political crisis was at a critical point because of the desperate humanitarian crisis on the ground. SW Radio