Morgan Tsvangirai must fight on for Zimbabwe

OPINION – Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s sometimes wayward opposition leader, has not put a foot wrong in his latest confrontation with President Robert Mugabe.

Only five weeks ago, the two leaders signed a power-sharing deal amid general optimism. But the hopes raised by this occasion have now been dashed. No agreement has been reached on the formation of a new cabinet, 16 of whose 31 members should come from the two wings of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Ten days ago, Mr Mugabe unilaterally announced that all of the key posts – notably the ministries of defence, home affairs and foreign affairs – would be held by his own Zanu-PF party. This brazen move revealed Mr Mugabe’s essential dishonesty. T

he crucial element of the agreement was equitable power-sharing between Zanu-PF and the MDC. In practice, however, it has become abundantly clear that Mr Mugabe wants to keep all power to himself while relegating Mr Tsvangirai, who is supposed to become prime minister, to a strictly subordinate role.

Mr Mugabe wants the MDC to secure Western aid and diplomatic recognition, while leaving him to get on with running Zimbabwe in his own unique fashion.

Thankfully, Mr Tsvangirai is having none of this. He has demanded that his allies control both the finance and home affairs ministries – which would give the MDC crucial levers of power, notably command of the police. Mr Tsvangirai has withstood great pressure and refused to compromise. 

He should continue be tough and robust on these issues. The worst outcome would be for Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC to become junior partners in a government dominated by Mr Mugabe.

They would then share responsibility for Zimbabwe’s headlong decline without having the power to do anything about it. Fortunately, Mr Tsvangirai seems to grasp this danger. Let us hope that his resolve does not falter. The Telegraph