Opposition blocking deal – Chinamasa

HARARE – Zimbabwe's ruling party said it had considered sharing control of the powerful home affairs ministry, but that the opposition leader balked at the proposal, state media reported on Sunday.

Leaders from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) are holding a summit Sunday in Johannesburg to salvage a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe that has stalled over bickering about control of home affairs, which runs the police.

Patrick Chinamasa, lead negotiator for the ruling Zanu-PF party, told the Herald newspaper that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had raised the possibility of sharing the home affairs post, but accused him of backing out of the compromise.

"We want to make it clear that this proposal, which Zanu-PF accepted as a compromise, was originated by Tsvangirai himself," Chinamasa said.

"He has since abandoned his own proposal," Chinamasa said.

"The proposals are on the table and the ball is in Tsvangirai’s court."

Chinamasa repeated President Robert Mugabe’s long-standing accusation that Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is backed by western powers, and warned that he could not predict a successful outcome for the summit.

"The problem with predicting any outcome is that we now know that Tsvangirai is not his own man," Chinamasa said in the paper.

"He has no respect for SADC leaders or the organisation because he feels that his source of power, which is Western countries, is superior to that of the region," he added.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal on 15 September but have so far failed to agree on how to form a unity government.

Regional leaders hope to press the rivals into a deal, with powerhouse South Africa taking a tough line on Zimbabwe, warning last week that the political impasse is becoming a threat to regional security.