Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change
Zimbabwe’s fresh power sharing talks fail to end impasse
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Decade long Zimbabwe political rivals, 84 year old Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Monday failed to compromise in new talks mediated by South Africa president, Kgalema Motlanthe, his predecessor Thabo Mbeki and Mozambican president, Armando Emilio Guebuza. Many Zimbabweans had hoped Monday’s dialogue would be the last effort to salvage the power sharing agreement signed last September and resuscitate the country’s economy in the doldrums for close to 10 years amid a cholera outbreak that has claimed over 2000 people since August last year.
Emerging from the talks held for about 12 hours at the Rainbow Towers hotel in the capital Harare, Tsvangirai told reporters that the outcome of the dialogue “was the darkest day of our lives.”
“For us as MDC this is probably the darkest day of our lives. I am sure the whole nation is waiting anxiously for the resolution of this crisis. We are committed to this deal but subject to Zanu PF conceding on these issues,” said Tsvangirai.
Mugabe who had earlier on Sunday said the MDC had to participate in the inclusive government or that “Either they (MDC) accept, or it’s a break” told journalists in the early hours Tuesday that the talks “didn’t go well.” He accused the MDC of coming up with “a counter-proposal naturally in conflict with the position of the SADC.”
The 84 year leader in his 29th year ruling Zimbabwe with an iron fist however said he would continue discussions with Tsvangirai ahead of next Monday’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit to be held either in South Africa or Botswana.
“We will continue with discussion here at home.”
“We shall continue to exchange ideas and see where the differences are with the SADC proposal.”
The MDC leader said he is till committed to the deal but that the same “outstanding issues” his party raised are the ones creating the deadlock.
“We are committed to this deal. We are committed to the power sharing government, subject to the resolution of these issues.”
“Unfortunately there has been no progress because the very same outstanding issues on the agenda are the same issues creating this impasse.”
In his counter-proposal Tsvangirai had tabled before the mediators that the MDC wanted allocation of the ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, Media, Information and Publicity, Local government, Rural and Urban Development and Agriculture. He proposed that Zanu PF get Defence, National Security, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Legal Affairs and Lands and Land Resettlement.
The leader of the smaller MDC, Professor Arthur Mutambara said the talks failed to come to fruition because Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s demands were unsustainable. He accused the two leaders of failing to compromise saying Zimbabwe “deserves better leaders than Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.”
The 15- nation SADC leaders will hold a summit on Monday 26 January, in probably yet another last bid to break the impasse, according to SADC Executive Secretary, Tomaz Salomao.
“The meeting was not conclusive and….the chairman of SADC is going to report to an extraordinary summit of SADC on the meeting held in Harare, “said Salomao.
As the political leaders continue with their game of consolidating political power before agreeing on forming a government of national unity, ordinary Zimbabweans hardships are prolonged in a nation gripped by abnormal inflation levels, food shortages, breakdown of health facilities, disintegration of the education sector, industry and a cholera outbreak that continue to kill people.