Cracking Robert Mugabe's mob accuse Tsvangirai of bad faith

HARARE – Members of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party accused the opposition MDC on Friday of "bad faith" in talks over a power-sharing government for Zimbabwe, and secretly aiming to bring about U.N. mediation

Mugabe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of a splinter MDC faction have failed to reach agreement on allocating cabinet posts in three days of talks, and are due to resume negotiations on Friday.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who brokered a broad power-sharing agreement last month, is mediating again.

The official Herald newspaper quoted ZANU-PF sources on Friday as saying the talks were dragging because Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) — which it calls MDC-T — had a hidden agenda.

"Insiders privy to the discussions told the Herald it appeared as if the MDC-T was negotiating in bad faith and angling for a deadlock in the hope that the mediation would be taken out of the hands of comrade Mbeki and assumed by the African Union and the United Nations," it said.

The paper’s sources said Tsvangirai was acting under pressure from the United States and Britain.

They accused Tsvangirai of seeking to renegotiate the allocation of ministries that had already been agreed, dragging out a session that was only meant to focus on the finance and home affairs portfolios, the Herald said.

There was no immediate comment from the MDC, which said on Thursday that the talks were deadlocked with about 10 ministries still in dispute.

In the past, the MDC has accused Mbeki of favouring Mugabe. But it has toned down its criticism since Mbeki brokered the power-sharing deal.

ZANU-PF has also protested against the introduction in parliament of two motions to debate the political violence that MDC supporters complained of during this year’s election campaign, and the "militarisation and politicisation" of food aid.

Mugabe’s chief whip in parliament, where ZANU-PF is now in a minority, told the Herald the motions had been introduced improperly, and should be withdrawn because they undermined the spirit of the power-sharing agreement.

There was no immediate comment from the MDC’s parliamentary chief whip.