Mugabe to form government on his own: Report

August 27th, 2008 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Harare, Aug 27 (DPA) Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is about to form a new government on his own, effectively breaking off talks with his pro-democracy opponents, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), state press reported Wednesday.”We shall soon be setting up a government,” the state-controlled daily Herald newspaper quoted him as saying. “The MDC does not want to come in apparently.” He said he would appoint cabinet ministers who would be “managers.” He described his last cabinet as “the worst in history.”

His remarks, made off the cuff at a government function Wednesday, came shortly after he was heckled and booed by MDC MPs - who now form the majority in parliament - during his official speech at the opening of legislature.

Analysts said it would mean that Mugabe would be appointing ministers from his own party, which is in the minority in parliament.

Until now, he and his ruling party have committed themselves to continuing with power-sharing talks with the MDC, brokered by the Southern African Development Community, the 14-nation regional bloc, represented by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The discussions have been stalled for two weeks after Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the major faction of the MDC, baulked at a draft agreement - approved by SADC - which proposed him as prime minister in a new “inclusive” government, and Mugabe as executive president.

The MDC has rejected the section of the draft, claiming that it gives the authoritarian 84-year-old leader far more powers than Tsvangirai.

The party has stated, though, that it continues to be committed to the dialogue.

The Herald quoted Mugabe as saying that the MDC did not want to be involved in a new government because “they have been promised by the British that sanctions would be more devastating, that in six months time the government will collapse.”

He indicated that he believed that nearly all SADC leaders had been turned against Zimbabwe, claiming that “the British and Americans” had visited all SADC heads of state “to influence them to speak ill about Zimbabwe, ostensibly because of the land issue.”

He claimed that “shipments of goods paid for by Zimbabwe had been seized, while in some cases payment meant for procuring goods from Europe and America were frozen.”

Mugabe also denounced the MDC MPs who barracked him in parliament Monday as “barbaric and nonsensical.”

Zimbabweans are counting on a political settlement to end nearly a decade of economic hardship and political repression under Mugabe, who has ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980.

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