- Southern Africa
- Politics - Governance
Morgan Tsvangirai confused ?
Arthur Matambara says Tsvangirai ’indecisive’
Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader faced mounting pressure to agree to a power-sharing government with Robert Mugabe, but insisted that this must reflect "the will of the people".
Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday said Zimbabwe needs a government that transfers power to the elected representatives of the people to carry out the people’s mandate for change.
Tsvangirai left South African-mediated talks with Mugabe and the leader of a smaller opposition faction late on Tuesday, prompting speculation that he had walked out. But in his statement on Wednesday, he said negotiations would continue.
Thabo Mbeki said the adjournment was meant to give Tsvangirai "more time to reflect".
Tsvangirai said that Mugabe must make a sign of good faith and end his ban on international humanitarian aid agencies imposed earlier this year, ostensibly because they were a tool of unfriendly Western governments.
"Our people continue to face a profound humanitarian crisis. This destructive policy of banning humanitarian assistance can be reversed with one letter," Tsvangirai said, demanding that Mbeki pressure Mugabe to agree to this at a summit of regional leaders this weekend.
Arthur Mutambara , the leader of the other MDC faction on Wednesday said that the country’s political rivals had "agreement on everything except on one aspect".
"Morgan Tsvangirai has requested time to reflect and consult," Mutambara told reporters. "Three times he agreed to this one aspect and three times he changed his mind."
Mutambara said Tsvangira is “indecisive”.
Tsvangirai won the first round of presidential elections in March, though not by an outright majority. He boycotted the run-off in June because of massive violence and intimidation blamed on Mugabe loyalists.
Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, won the one-man run-off which was denounced as a sham even by normally sympathetic African countries.
The state run Herald newspaper signalled on Wednesday that Mugabe would go ahead and form a government, with or without Tsvangirai. It said that parliament would soon sit.
The most contentious issue has been the amount of control 84-year-old Mugabe is prepared to cede. Mugabe reportedly wants to keep his authority as president, while Tsvangirai reportedly wants executive powers as prime minister, including the right to chair Cabinet meetings.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai’s media aide was arrested moments after he walked out of power-sharing talks with Mugabe and Mutambara on Tuesday night.
Andrew Chadwick is described as a “media aide” to MDC leader. Chadwick was seized as he left the Rainbow Towers hotel in central Harare with Tsvangirai. He was briefly held at the Harare Central Police Station before being released, his party said.
The MDC leader and Mugabe are said to be at odds over “one issue, a non-issue”, according to Mutambara, leader of a rival MDC faction. The “non-issue” is believed to be the share of executive powers between Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, and Mugabe as President.
Not much is known about Chadwick, but in 2003, he worked as a correspondent for the UK Telegraph newspaper.