Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF says Tsvangirai stalling on deal

HARARE (Reuters) – President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF on Tuesday accused opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of stalling on a power-sharing deal after he refused to attend an emergency summit in Swaziland aimed at rescuing the pact.

Monday’s meeting, called by the 15-nation SADC southern African regional body to try end an impasse in talks on forming a joint cabinet, was postponed until October 27 after Tsvangirai refused to go until he is issued a new passport.

"Tsvangirai’s failure to come to Swaziland seems to us to reflect his own reluctance or hesitancy to finalise and conclude discussions on the formation of an inclusive government," Patrick Chinamasa, ZANU-PF chief negotiator, told the state-owned Herald newspaper.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have clashed over control of key ministries and weeks of face-to-face talks have failed to break the deadlock, raising fears a power-sharing deal signed over a month ago could collapse and plunge Zimbabwe’s economy deeper into crisis.

Tsvangirai, who has not been issued with a new passport since filling up his old one months ago, was given a temporary emergency document for the Swaziland trip but refused to use it.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting will now take place in Harare.

In an editorial, the Herald urged Mugabe to form a cabinet without Tsvangirai, adding that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader should renounce Western sanctions before being issued a new passport.

The MDC said in a statement on Tuesday Tsvangirai would address "report back" rallies in Zimbabwe over the weekend to update supporters on developments since the deal was signed.

Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, which lost a parliamentary election in March, of trying to seize the most important ministries and relegate the MDC to the role of junior partner in a new government.

The cabinet talks are seen as critical to solving Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown. Inflation has hit 231 million percent in a country suffering acute shortages of food, fuel and currency.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled the country in search of food and work in neighbouring nations, especially South Africa.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a presidential election on March 29 but with too few votes to avoid a June run-off, which was won by Mugabe unopposed after Tsvangirai pulled out, saying his supporters had been subjected to violence and intimidation.