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Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF to hail Mugabe as supreme leader at congress
Mugabe expected to harden stance against MDC demands to resolve power-sharing dispute
Zimbabwe’s unending negotiations have been stopped to pave way for President Mugabe’s party to hold its lavish congress which starts in Harare today.
The two negotiators representing Zanu-PF, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, requested leave of absence in order to attend the party’s congress which runs until Saturday.
Two weeks of renewed negotiations between Zanu-PF and the MDC broke off on Tuesday amid signs of increasing frustration over the lack of progress in efforts to resolve outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.
The 10,000-strong delegate congress — to run under the theme "United in Defence of our Natural Resources and People’s Economic Empowerment" has a sponsorship of US$5 million.
One serious notable item on the agenda is to endorse the 85 year old leader as Zanu PF supreme leader. Zanu PF’s 10 provinces have unanimously nominated Mugabe as its leader with some saying he is a gift from God and should lead them till he dies.
Analysts say Mugabe will likely use this week’s congress to harden his stance against MDC demands to resolve a power-sharing dispute so as to appease party hawks opposed to the coalition government and show the party faithful that he is in complete control of the new administration.
“Mugabe is going to be ‘Mr Rhetoric’ par excellence. He will come out defiant saying the onus is on the MDC to resolve what it sees as the outstanding issues,” said John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer.
Zanu PF says the MDC should push for the removal of Western travel and financial sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle, call on pirate radio stations broadcasting from abroad to end their broadcasts and that the former opposition party should stop running a parallel government.
Tsvangirai has branded Zanu PF as an unreliable partner and wants the 85-year-old leader to replace Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, and appoint new provincial governors and also swear-in Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister.