Chief negotiator for President Robert Mugabe’s party Patrick Chinamasa said there was no need at this point for ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki who brokered the power-sharing deal or the regional SADC alliance that mandated him to do so to get involved in the dispute over sharing of cabinet posts.
Our position is that we should continue negotiating until we reach a common ground, Chinamasa told ZimOnline. We will try to reach out to the MDC (opposition party) so that we continue negotiations.
Chinamasa spoke after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai formally declared a deadlock in the talks and said his party had approached the SADC (Southern African Development Community), African Union (AU) and Mbeki for help to break the impasse.
Tsvangirai said several rounds of talks in recent days between the MDC, ZANU PF party and a break away faction of the opposition led by Arthur Mutambara had failed to break the deadlock over distribution of ministries in a unity government. The MDC leader said talks could not continue without the involvement of Mbeki.
We have declared a deadlock and therefore the process cannot move forward except in the presence of the facilitator (Mbeki), Tsvangirai said.
We have communicated this position to the AU and to SADC as well as to the facilitator and have confidence that our African brothers will do everything in their power to ensure that this issue is resolved with speed.
Zimbabwe’s three biggest political parties entered the deal following parliamentary elections in March won by the MDC while Tsvangirai also defeated Mugabe in a parallel presidential vote. The opposition leader however failed to achieve an outright victory to avoid a second round run-off vote.
Tsvangirai withdrew from a June 27 run-off election in protest against state-sponsored violence against his supporters and leaving Mugabe to win the vote uncontested.
The West and some African governments refused to recognise Mugabe’s re-election and the veteran leader was forced to agree a power-sharing deal that keeps him president. But he has to cede some of his powers to Tsvangirai, prime minister in the unity government.
Mutambara will serve as deputy prime minister.
Tsvangirai said the power-sharing deal was still holding despite the deadlock over Cabinet posts. He also said Mbeki had indicated that he would soon travel to Harare although the opposition chief declined to say when exactly that would be.
However the insistence by ZANU PF – which has also refused to acknowledge that there is deadlock over sharing of Cabinet posts – that Mbeki should not get involved raises questions as to how or when the dispute over ministries will be resolved.
Crisis-weary Zimbabweans had hoped a power-sharing government would immediately begin work to reverse an economic crisis that plumbed new lows on Thursday when the government Central Statistical Office released fresh figures showing annual inflation at 231 million percent, the highest rate in the world.
A prolonged delay to form the unity government could eventually lead to the fragile power-sharing deal unraveling.