- Southern Africa
- Conflicts - Politics
Mugabe’s Zanu-PF gets ultimatum from Tsvangirai’s MDC
A senior Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official says the opposition party will not be ‘swallowed’ by Zanu-PF in the crisis talks in South Africa and warned that the party will pullout of the talks unless opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is made executive president or prime minister.
Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF was forced into ‘talks’ with the two formations of the MDC following the controversial one candidate June 27 run-off election that he won with a landslide after Tsvangirai pulled out citing an adverse electoral field.
Crisis talks between the country’s political adversaries started last week following the signing of a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the breakaway MDC faction.
A two-week deadline for completing the talks runs out on August 4, but it could be extended.
Critics fear that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF will ‘swallow’ the MDC by offering irresistible offers like lofty posts to leaders of the opposition as Zanu PF did during the unity government talks with Zanu PF in 1987, a warning that Sipepa Nkomo, the MDC national executive member vowed will never happen.
Nkomo added that the MDC party will not accept any deal that denies Tsvangirai executive powers, warning that the talks “would rather collapse or not move forward unless Mugabe is offered a powerless post since he lost March 29 elections post or forced to retire.”
“The MDC won’t be swallowed by Zanu PF like what happened to PF Zanu in 1987. Currently there is no government in Zimbabwe but just an illegal caretaker government. As MDC we are not going to accept any outcome from the ongoing talks in Pretoria which doesn’t recognize the March 29 elections”
Mugabe and Tsvangirai are under pressure from within Africa and the rest of the world to negotiate a national unity government to end a crisis that has ruined Zimbabwe’s economy and flooded neighbouring states with millions of refugees.
Western countries like the United States and Britain have vowed that they would press for tougher action against Mugabe if the talks do not produce a deal that ‘respects the will of Zimbabweans based on the March 29 poll that was won by Tsvangirai.
But the African Union (AU) has argued otherwise and urged the MDC and Zanu-PF to negotiate a power-sharing deal after warning that tougher action might spark a civil war in Zimbabwe.
The MDC has said that Tsvangirai should be offered a leading role since he won the March 29 elections. Zanu-PF argues that Mugabe should be offering a leading role as he also won a contested one candidate election on June 27.
The crisis talks adjourned last week and resumed on Sunday, according to South African President, Thabo Mbeki, who is brokering the talks.