Mugabe And Tsvangirai To Discuss Violence, Ghost Workers

Harare, – President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are due to meet next Monday for showdown talks on violence, ghost workers and the issue of civil servants salaries.\r\n

The meeting will depend on whether Mugabe will return home as expected on Sunday after being rushed to Singapore to have “his eyes operated on” according to his spokesperson George Charamba.

Diplomatic sources however insist that Mugabe is having serious problems with prostate cancer and due to his advanced age, there are reports that it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat him.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai met two weeks ago over the issue of violence being perpetrated across the country by what the Zimbabwe Prime Minister says are hired Zanu (PF) thugs.

At the meeting Mugabe is said to have pointed out that he was not aware that his Zanu (PF) youths were responsible for the violence that affected Harare.

The co-minister of home affairs Theresa Makone was tasked with compiling the violence report which will be tabled when Mugabe and Tsvangirai meet.

A top government official close to the Prime Minister told Radio VOP in Harare Thursday that the talks will once again see Tsvangirai confronting Mugabe over several issues.

“The regular Monday meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai will be explosive given the issues that have come up since they last met. Mugabe will be presented with the violence report that blames his party and he will have to stop it otherwise the MDC will seek ways of defending themselves.

“Secondly, both will have to find a solution to the issue of civil servants salaries after Mugabe went public politicking about the issue when he knew very well that there was no money to pay them. From, nowhere Mugabe announced that civil servants will be paid money raised from diamond sales but treasury has received nothing.

“The President and the Prime Minister will also have to discuss the civil servants audit which has unearthed 75 000 ghost workers who were employed at the behest of Zanu (PF). All those issues need to be addressed. For the civil servants to get more money, the 75 000 ghost workers have to be removed but Mugabe will not easily allow that because all of them are Zanu PF youths and supporters,” said top source.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been at loggerheads for the past two years although they are working together in the shaky inclusive government which they were forced into by the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) following disputed elections in 2008.

Last week Tsvangirai blamed Mugabe for the violence and looting spree that has been rocking Harare for the past three weeks.

Meanwhile Tsvangirai has ruled out an election this year saying that he would not participate in any election if President Robert Mugabe unilaterally calls for one.

Tsvangirai said if Mugabe acts unilaterally, he would not bless such a move.

Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party are attempting to force an election in Zimbabwe in August but Tsvangirai told a business delegation on Thursday he would not participate in no such election until a Southern African Development Community (SADC) roadmap towards an election has been completed.

The roadmap towards elections includes the completion of the constitution making process, the implementation of various commissions such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, and the freeing of the media space.

“For me and for my party and for the people of Zimbabwe, it’s not just about holding an election but its about free and fair conditions for that election. It is also about ensuring that the outcome of that election is not contested like in 2008 for whatever reason. This means that we have to make sure that the constitution making process is completed. At the moment they are busy compiling the data from the outreach process which we have criticised because of the violence and the interference with the process but we need it because it is a step in the right direction."

Tsvangirai said according to the parliamentary committee that spearheaded the constitution making process, COPAC, the referendum may be held in August or September. It then means that after that, according to the law, the President and I must agree on an election date.

“However you know the people we are dealing with. They are very unpredictable but should Mugabe proceed to announce an election without my agreement then we will not support that because it will mean that we will have a contested outcome. We do not want a contested outcome because we want a legitimate end to this transition. The other aspect is that it is no longer in our hands. The roadmap to our election is a matter that the SADC Facilitator, President Zuma is seized with. We hope that he will be convening a SADC Troika to propose a roadmap towards our election. Once that roadmap, its benchmarks and milestones are acceptable then all parties must commit themselves to that process. That means we would have the support of SADC and the international community,” said Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai’s MDC fears bloodbath if elections were to be held this year.