Talks on Zimbabwe cabinet deferred

September 17th, 2008 - 7:48 am ICT by IANS  

Harare, Sep 17 (DPA) Talks set for Tuesday between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai on the appointment of ministers in a new unity government have been postponed indefinitely.While both Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF confirmed the postponement, they would not be drawn on whether the delay spelled trouble for the country’s day-old power-sharing deal.

“I can confirm that the meeting set for today to allocate ministries for the three parties to the deal did not take place,” said Nelson Chamisa spokesperson for the MDC.

“It (meeting) will definitely take place. The nation awaits the cabinet and it will have it (cabinet) as soon as the meeting is held at a later stage,” he said, without giving a date.

Zanu PF’s negotiator Patrick Chinamasa, confirming the delay, referred comment to Mugabe.

A senior source within Zanu-PF said the meeting, which was also to include Arthur Mutambara, leader of an MDC splinter group that is a party to the deal, was postponed over MDC “greed.”

The source said Tsvangirai’s MDC was demanding “key” ministries such as finance and economy, information, agriculture and home affairs and said: “Zanu PF is not ready to give in to such greedy demands.”

It was not clear whether the hardline thinking reflected Mugabe’s and the party’s thinking, following reports late last week that the MDC had already “scored” the listed ministries.

The source said Mugabe was scheduled to meet his party’s politburo, its highest decision-making body late Tuesday, to discuss the allocation of ministries. Mugabe already met Sunday with the politburo on cabinet.

Monday Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara agreed to share power in a bid to end Zimbabwe’s political crisis and economic collapse. The deal ended Mugabe’s 28-year monopoly on power.

Under the agreement, Zanu-PF get 15 seats and the combined MDC factions 16 in the 31-member cabinet.

Analysts blame Mugabe’s nationalist policies for driving away foreign direct investment and international aid.

After the signing of the deal the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it was ready to discuss kick-starting Zimbabwe’s turn-around.

African Development Bank chief Donald Kaberuka in a statement Tuesday also pledged support from his institution, including helping mend Zimbabwe’s rifts with other agencies.

“The Bank stands ready in coordination with other international donors to provide support and assist in the context of the normalization of the country’s relations with the international financial community,” he said.

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