Mugabe calls split in coalition a 'non-event'

Harare, – Robert Mugabe has finally broken his silence over last week’s decision by the MDC to boycott cabinet and the council of ministers saying his party will not budge to any amount of pressure by the former opposition.

A tough talking Mugabe said Friday his party had religiously complied with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and as such, anymore concessions by Zanu PF would now amount to giving away its authority to “cheap politicking” by its rivals.

Mugabe, 85, said the MDC’s partial pullout from government was behaviour that was consistent with people acting on “little emotional thoughts”.

“You always get people in any arrangement, you see, who are guided by little emotional thoughts and act in accordance with that, who would want things to go their way and not the national way, and not the agreed way,” Mugabe said.

He was speaking soon after arriving from Uganda where he attended the African Union’s special summit on refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons.

Announcing his party’s disengagement from Zanu PF last week, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the decision was influenced by Zanu PF’s failure to recognise the MDC as an equal partner in the inclusive government.

Tsvangirai cited Mugabe’s continued refusal to reverse the unilateral appointment of Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Central Bank governor as well as the delay in appointing MDC officials into governorship posts to be among the main factors that influenced the pull out, the first political crisis to rock Zimbabwe’s unity government since its formation eight months ago.

The MDC was spurred into action when party treasurer and deputy agriculture minister designate Roy Bennett was recently re-incarcerated after the State indicted him to stand trial on alleged terrorism charges at the High Court.

Mugabe has refused to swear Bennett in insisting the former Chimanimani legislator should first clear his name in the courts before he can be accepted in government.

Mugabe said, “There is nothing in the GPA that has not been done by Zanu PF, nothing at all. We have fulfilled everything that the GPA wanted us to fulfill.The legal aspects we were very accurate about them, the swearing in of all those who were supposed to be sworn in, that was done timeously and in an appropriate manner.

“The matters that had to do with what beyond the legal aspects we had to do, we have done. What the people are complaining about in the MDC-T is that we should now voluntarily, from our side, you see, give away aspects of our authority. We will not do that.”

The utterances by the leader are sure to harden attitudes within the MDC, which is under pressure from its constituency to abandon its softly approach on Mugabe.

The MDC wants a complete abandonment of the unity government in place of fresh elections run by SADC and the AU supervised by the UN in the case of a continued deadlock.

Hope of a resolution to Zimbabwe’s fresh political crisis were renewed this week when Tsvangirai successfully persuaded the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security to convene a summit on 29 October to tackle the impasse.

The MDC leader is currently on a tour of some SADC countries to appraise their leaders on his party’s decision to boycott cabinet.

Also among the MDC’s reasons for the boycott is the continued culture of impunity by Zanu PF which has manifested in continued invasions of commercial farmland, arrests on MDC MPs, the deployment of the military in the countryside to intimidate villagers and the mushrooming of terror bases by Zanu PF militia.