Robert Mugabe drafting law on unity government

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe is drafting a constitutional amendment empowering President Robert Mugabe to form a unity government, the information minister said on Tuesday, despite the opposition's refusal to join a cabinet.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said it will not join a unity government with Mugabe until all issues in power-sharing talks are resolved.

In the government’s first public reaction to a decision by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC on Friday not to join a power-sharing administration until a dispute over some cabinet posts has been resolved, and the constitution amended, Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu was quoted by state radio as saying:

"The state is currently drafting Constitutional Amendment Number 19, which will be gazetted soon after consultations with the two formations of the MDC."

The amendment would allow Mugabe to form a unity government.

Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of trying to take control of the most powerful ministries and freeze out his party in violation of a September 15 power-sharing agreement seen as the best hope of rescuing Zimbabwe’s economy.

Ndlovu said Mugabe was still in the process of assembling a new cabinet, but he and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) gave no timetable on when it would be announced.

"He (Ndlovu) urged the public to be patient as the process of forming a government is a process and not an event," the ZBC said.