Saturday, September 06, 2008

Mugabe gives MDC 'last chance' over power-sharing agreement

Mugabe gives MDC 'last chance' over power-sharing agreement
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Saturday September 06, 2008 [04:00]

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has given opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai the "last chance" to sign the power-sharing agreement or he will proceed to appoint a new Cabinet without the opposition. South African President Thabo Mbeki was on Thursday afternoon expected in Harare for another attempt to make the Zimbabwean leader sign the power sharing deal, which will facilitate for the appointment of a new government.

The composition of a new government is expected to reflect the result of the unity talks that have been recommended by SADC and the African Union for Zimbabwe to end the decade-long political and economic impasse.

The country's political leaders began the power sharing talks after signing the memorandum of understanding on July 21, 2008 spelling out the agenda and rules of the talks.

But Tsvangirai last month refused to sign the deal over the issue of who will hold the majority of the power between the two country's political rivals.

ZANU-PF has said it will not cede MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai more power than has been apportioned to him as the Prime Minister in a deal endorsed by SADC.

MDC argues that the deal, which Tsvangirai refused to sign, would see President Mugabe hold onto the majority of power while the opposition leader would become a ceremonial Prime Minister.

President Mugabe said he would not wait any longer if Tsvangirai refuses to sign the deal.

"If after Thursday Tsvangirai does not want to sign, we will certainly put together a Cabinet. We feel frozen at the moment," he said on Wednesday.

President Mugabe said Tsvangirai was being used by Britain and that the Western country was behind Tsvangirai's refusal to sign.

"We know that it is the British government behind it. It is the British government which does not want an agreement, and as long as they do not want it he (Tsvangirai) will not sign. They want sanctions to continue to punish us into an agreement with them. It is the land question, and all this talk about democracy is nonsense," he said.

The negotiators from ZANU-PF and the two MDC factions, led by Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, were in South Africa last week in an effort to break the political impasse but still returned to Zimbabwe yesterday with differences.
President Mbeki was expected yesterday to meet the party leaders in his role as SADC appointed facilitator.

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