Talks collapse as Mbeki proposes rotational ministerial functions

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Thabo Mbeki stunned negotiators here when he tabled a ration system of ministries between Zanu PF an MDC.

Thabo Mbeki stunned negotiators here when he tabled a ration system of ministries between Zanu PF an MDC.

Sources close to the deal locked talks told me that Mbeki said the ministry of Finance and Home affairs should be held by each party for a period of 12 months. “Mbeki proposed that the finance and home affairs ministry should be first held by MDC for 12 months, the Zanu PF takes over then finally Arthur Mutambara party”

Under the proposal, there would be two deputy ministers, one from each party. However, another sticking issue was that of permanent secretaries within ministries.

Morgan Tsvangirai says permanent secretaries, the people responsible for running ministries should come from each party and the current ones should be fired.

The talks seem to have collapsed for good with both parties resolving to refer the matter to the Sadc Troika which is scheduled to meet in Swaziland on Monday.

Speaking to journalists after hours of negotiations, Mugabe said Government would issue a full statement today on the outcome of the talks. “The talks went well but in the wrong direction. We will issue a full statement tomorrow (today) where we would tell in detail the outcome of the talks and give the way forward,” Mugabe said.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Zanu PF agreed to give Mac the finance portfolio. “Zanu-PF agreed to allocate the Ministry of Finance to MDC-T. One can say that the discussions, however, largely centred on the issue of Home Affairs. Zanu-PF was arguing that it should get the ministry while MDC-T was also arguing that they should get the ministry.

“On Tuesday Mbeki proposed that the ministry be rotated between Zanu-PF and MDC-T on a 12-month basis with Zanu-PF getting it first.” Chinamasa said that the parties decided to sleep on this proposal and discuss it further the following day.

But he said Zanu-PF decided that this proposal would be difficult to implement as it would impact negatively on policy formulation and implementation and there would thus be no consistency in the ministry.

A rotational method would also pose headaches for the person designated the finance minister during the 12 months that he would not be in office and waiting for his next turn.

Prof Mutambara confirmed that a number of proposals had been laid on the table in a bid to go around the disagreement over the Ministry of Home Affairs. “Of the 31 ministries, 29 were discussed and agreed upon. Only the ministries of Finance and Home Affairs remained. It was then agreed that the Ministry of Finance go to MDC-T.

“Two formulas were proposed to deal with the issue of the Ministry of Home Affairs. One was that it be shared by both Zanu-PF and MDC-T as co-ministers and the other was that it be rotated every six months between the two.

“Today we looked at the two proposals. MDC-T said that it preferred the rotational formula and said they wanted to go first and then they would be prepared to accept the Ministry of Finance,” Prof Mutambara said.

He said it looked then that a deal would be reached but the whole thing then suddenly collapsed. “We then saw some people trying to reopen debate on issues that had already been agreed on and settled and this is a travesty of justice.”

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