Zimbabwe cabinet talks have not collapsed-Tsvangirai

HARARE – Former South African President Thabo Mbeki will travel to Zimbabwe to mediate in deadlocked talks over forming a cabinet, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday.

 Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday no progress had been made with the ruling ZANU-PF in negotiations on forming a cabinet.

Speaking at a news conference, the Movement for Democratic Change leader said he had made compromises on many issues but both sides remained divided on sharing ministries.

"We have spoken to the facilitator and he has responded he will be coming," Tsvangirai told reporters. Tsvangirai said his MDC party had also contacted the African Union and regional grouping SADC over the stalemate and expressed confidence they will seek a speedy resolution.

Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal has not collapsed despite a deadlock on forming a cabinet, opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday.

 

"It’s ridiculous to say the deal has broken down because of this failure to agree on posts. Having a good agreement with a bad guy (President Robert Mugabe) is always something else," he told a news conference.

Zimbabwe’s main political parties met on Wednesday to iron out differences over the division of key cabinet posts in a unity government, but failed to reach agreement, the opposition spokesperson said.

"Our negotiating team led by secretary-general Tendai Biti held a meeting with the Zanu-PF negotiating team but the situation remains as before," Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, told reporters.

"It’s a deadlock. It can only be unlocked by the mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and the Southern African Development Community," said Chamisa.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his arch-rivals Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main MDC, and Arthur Mutambara who heads the splinter faction of the MDC, signed a landmark power-sharing accord last month aimed at ending the country’s political and economic crisis.

So far they have failed to agree on how to divide key ministries, leading the MDC to call for regional mediators to help break the impasse.

Under the deal, the 84-year-old Mugabe retains his position as head of state, after nearly three decades in power, while Tsvangirai took up the new post of prime minister.

Tsvangirai’s MDC claims that Mugabe’s ruling party wants to retain key posts – believed to be the defence, home affairs, state security and finance ministries – in violation of the pact. Reuters