Stunning blow for Mugabe following Tsvangirais man being elected SpeakerAugust 26th, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by ANI
London, Aug 26 (ANI): A MP from Morgan Tsvangirais Movement for Democratic Change was elected as Speaker of Parliament, giving a major blow to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabes attempts to hold on to power.
In a stunning upset Lovemore Moyo, chairman of Tsvangirais MDC faction, defeated Paul Themba Nyathi, of the smaller MDC grouping led by Arthur Mutambara, by 110 votes to 98.
Mugabes Zanu-PF party did not put up a candidate itself, instead ordering its newly sworn-in MPs to support the Mutambara factions man. Mugabe will undoubtedly have been infuriated by the result, The Telegraph reported.
The indications are that Mugabe had been hoping to engineer a deal with Mutambaras faction to exclude Tsvangirai from a government of national unity, and that enough of its MPs would support the government in parliament to enable it to function.
In Zimbabwean politics the speakership is a powerful role, with the ability to determine parliaments agenda, and the octogenarian leader now faces the prospect of having to deal with a lower house fully controlled by his opponents if he decides to abandon the deadlocked negotiations being brokered by the South African president Thabo Mbeki and form a government of his own.
Whatever game plan Mugabe had has been complicated and this greatly diminishes his capacity to form a cabinet and govern, said Eldred Masunungure, professor of politics at the University of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe is seriously weakened and he and Zanu-PF will have to take the negotiations more seriously, he added.
In the parliamentary poll earlier this year, Tsvangirais MDC took 100 seats, Mutambaras 10, and Zanu-PF 99, with one independent.
It was the first time Zanu-PF had lost its majority since independence in 1980. (ANI)
Tags: arthur mutambara, national unity, parliamentary poll, president thabo mbeki, south african president thabo mbeki, speaker of parliament, thabo mbeki, university of zimbabwe, zimbabwe mugabe, zimbabwe president