Friday, September 19, 2008



Daily Nation
By KITSEPILE NYATHI,NATION Correspondent and Agencies
September 18 2008

Mr Mugabe has described his power-sharing deal with the opposition as a humiliation
He has vowed to continue his attacks on Britain and other Western nations he accuses of backing the opposition
MDC party official said President Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai are deadlocked in talks over appointing cabinet ministers.

HARARE, Thursday - President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF has accused the opposition of attacking its supporters throughout the country as signs of discord begin to emerge in Zimbabwe’s government of national unity.

At the same time, Mr Mugabe has described his power-sharing deal with the opposition as a humiliation but intends to remain “in the driving seat,” state media quoted him as saying today.

Mr Mugabe told a meeting of his Zanu-PF party yesterday that the agreement was “a humiliation,” the state-run Herald newspaper said.

“Anyhow here we are, still in a dominant position which will enable us to gather more strength as we move into the future. We remain in the driving seat,” Mugabe said.

The reports of violence, which could not be independently verified came as Mr Mugabe and leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara prepared to meet today to allocate each other cabinet portfolios.

A meeting of the Zanu PF Central Committee endorsed the deal on Wednesday but noted that the reports of violence posed a major threat to the coalition.

“We have received reports of violent acts against our members across the country,” Mr Patrick Chinamasa, the Zanu PF chief negotiator told reporters in Harare.

“This started on Monday and has been taking place across the country. “It is unfortunate that these violent acts are occurring at a time when we are beginning a new era in the country and such behaviour does not make the co-operation between the parties succeed,” he said.

He said Mr Mugabe would also complain about his embarrassment at the official opening of parliament last month when MDC MPs jeered and heckled him.

Mr Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai – the prime minister designate in the new government and Prof Mutambara the leader of a small faction of the MDC, earlier this week signed a land mark deal to form a coalition following an electoral process marred by violence this year.

But already, the leaders have spoken with discordant voices on the sensitive subject of how to achieve national healing while ensuring those who violated human rights are brought to justice.

Mr Tsvangirai recently told a British newspaper that some senior members of Mr Mugabe’s government could face trial over political violence.
The veteran leader himself will not be tried, according to Mr Tsvangirai, himself a victim of state sponsored violence.

Zanu PF and Prof Mutambara’s faction have said the parties had not agreed what to do with perpetrators of human rights abuses.

They said whatever course of action the three parties may eventually decide to take, it should be aimed at “achieving national healing rather than punishment and retribution”

Before reaching a settlement during talks led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, the protagonists publicly admitted that their parties were all to blame for the violence that plagued Zimbabwe ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off election.

Mr Mugabe ran alone in the polls after Mr Tsvangirai who was the front runner after winning the first round in March pulled out of the race citing state sponsored violence.

The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters were killed in the violence largely blamed on Zanu PF supporters and armed forces. Several thousands were also displaced. Under the agreement, Mr Tsvangirai, who heads the largest of the two MDC factions, will become prime minister and chair a council of ministers supervising the cabinet.

Mr Tsvangirai’s MDC is expected to get 13 Cabinet posts, with Arthur Mutambara’s breakaway faction of the MDC likely to control an additional three ministries. Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, which lost control of parliament in the March election for the first time in 28 years, is likely to have 15 ministers in the Cabinet.