Zimbabwe’s opposition says power-sharing ‘political suicide’

January 18th, 2009 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Harare, Jan 18 (DPA) Zimbabwe’s opposition said Sunday it will not “commit political suicide” by entering into a government with President Robert Mugabe without the power to deliver change.Speaking at a national executive meeting of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of talks on forming a government of national unity, MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said: “We cannot go into positions of authority without the attendant and consequent power to enable us to deliver on change, food and jobs.”

“It is an act of political hara-kiri (political suicide), and we are not ready to commit suicide yet. We cannot commit political suicide by entering into a government limping and in pain,” he said.

“We are going to insist on the outstanding issues which are to do with equity of ministries, making sure that we attain the position of governors in line with the March 29 election. Therefore, we are going to insist and stick to our position and we hope Mugabe and (his party) Zanu-PF will appreciate the nobility of our very vital position,” Chamisa said.

Zimbabwea’s President Robert Mugabe had earlier set a Monday meeting with the opposition - a meeting in which regional leaders from neighbouring countries are expected to attend as observers - as the last chance to present concerns before a government is formed, with or without the opposition.

“This is the occasion when it’s either they accept or it’s a break,” said Mugabe, quoted in the state-owned Sunday Mail. “After all, this is an interim agreement. If (the opposition) have any
issues they deem outstanding, they can raise them after they come into the inclusive government.”

In response to Mugabe’s stance, Chamisa said: “Mugabe is a failure and cannot dictate pace. If they choose to terminate the talks by their arrogance let it be, we will not give Mugabe latitude to be funny.”

Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed a power sharing deal in September, that would keep Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president, with Tsvangirai becoming prime minister.

A national unity government, however, has not been formed, with Tsvangirai previously threatening to pull out of the power-sharing deal, saying that Mugabe’s party was unfairly trying to hold onto the majority of the most-powerful ministries, despite the MDC’s wins in last year’s elections.

The MDC won a majority of legislative seats in elections last year. Tsvangirai won the most votes in a presidential election last year, but not an outright majority. He pulled out of a run-off election, citing unfair and violent tactics by the Zanu-PF.

Tsvangirai has also cited recent abductions and jailings of MDC members as reasons to be wary of any power-sharing deal with the Zanu-PF.

But, upon returning to Zimbabwe Saturday, he said he was committed to a power-sharing deal with Mugabe. However, he vowed not to be rushed into joining an inclusive government.

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