Mugabe calls for end of unity govt

bobHARARE Zimbabwes coalition government should not survive beyond its two-year lifespan that lapses next February, President Robert Mugabe said on Thursday, virtually sounding the death knell for the troubled coalition. (Pictured: PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe)

Mugabe said the power-sharing administration must end because some of the things happening in the government were absolutely foolish and stupid, a thinly veiled attack on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who has refused to recognise senior public officials the President unilaterally appointed in violation of the two rivals power sharing agreement known as the global political agreement (GPA).

“The life of this creature called the GPA is only two years and it started in February last year. So, February this year it was one year down.

“February next year, which is about four months to go, then it will have lived its full life and I do not know what is going to happen if we are not ready with a constitution.

According to the GPA Zimbabwe must first write a new and democratic constitution before holding fresh elections to choose a new government to replace the coalition of Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara who heads the smaller MDC-M party.

But a multi-party parliamentary committee has said it only hopes to call a referendum on the new constitution by next June or four months after expiry of the life of the unity government.

Should the committee — that has failed to meet deadlines before with constitutional reforms that have been suspended in Harare lagging behind by nearly a year this time round sticks to its timetable and hold the referendum in June, still it will be several months before the new charter is enacted.

Mugabe has previously said Zimbabwe will go to elections next year with or without a new constitution.

The veteran leader, who was addressing his ZANU PF party youth league, said: “Some will say let us negotiate and give it another life. I am reluctant because part of the things that are happening (in the coalition government) are absolutely foolish and stupid.”

Turning to protest by Tsvangirai that he breached the Constitution and the GPA by unilaterally appointing senior officials without consulting the Premier, Mugabe dismissed his coalition partners concerns as mere politicking and absolutely nonsensical.

The GPA and a constitutional amendment enacted to cement the political agreement require Mugabe to consult Tsvangirai before appointing senior public officials.

But Mugabe has flagrantly ignored the requirement to consult Tsvangirai, unilaterally appointing his allies to key positions such as attorney general, central bank governor, court judges, ambassadors and 10 provincial governors, who were re-appointed last week among others.

Mugabe has cunningly exploited a legal grey area created by the fact that while the drafters of the GPA and the constitutional amendment made it clear that the President must consult Tsvangirai they did not include a clause expressly banning his previous powers to unilaterally make such appointments.

ZANU PF party insists Mugabe still wields all his presidential powers notwithstanding the GPA and the constitutional amendment.

Tsvangirai last week said his MDC party would not recognise the appointments as they were made unconstitutionally and called on the United Nations and countries where Mugabe has posted ambassadors not to recognise the envoys.

South African President Jacob Zuma, the regional SADC alliances official mediator in Zimbabwe, on Wednesday dispatched a team of senior officials to try and end the escalating wrangle between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Zumas representatives had by yesterday held talks with Mutambara and Tsvangirai and were still to meet Mugabe. It could not be immediately established how the mediation effort were progressing.

Zimbabwes unity government has done well to stabilise the economy and end inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent at the height of the countrys economic meltdown in 2008.

But the unending squabbles between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over how to share executive power and the administrations inability to secure direct financial support from rich Western nations has hindered efforts to rebuild the economy.

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