/ 8 October 2008

Zanu-PF: MDC putting Zim talks at risk

President Robert Mugabe’s party says the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is putting Zimbabwe’s troubled power-sharing talks at risk by speaking publicly about the negotiations.

Talks over a proposed unity government have stalled over the allocation of ministerial posts.

Patrick Chinamasa, chief negotiator for Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, says opposition signatories are violating the spirit of the deal, which calls for an information blackout on negotiations.

”Negotiating in public will lead to the negotiations failing,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Mugabe’s party has said only two key ministries of home affairs — in charge of the police and finance — remain in dispute, but opposition negotiators deny this, saying most main Cabinet posts are still undecided.

Meanwhile, South African opposition the Democratic Alliance (DA) says that former president Thabo Mbeki’s mediation in Zimbabwe has plainly failed and is urging President Kgalema Motlanthe to get involved.

”President Motlanthe must also make some of the unambiguous demands that Mbeki was never courageous enough to make, but which are critical to overcoming Mugabe’s intransigence,” according to Sandra Botha, the DA’s Parliamentary leader. ”He must state that South Africa will not recognise any government whose Cabinet does not reflect the provisions of the power-sharing deal or the results of the March elections.”

Botha said on Wednesday that Motlanthe, as the new head of state, has more leverage than former president Mbeki to get Zanu-PF to agree to share all key ministries and governors with the MDC. ”Mr Mbeki is no longer held in high regard by the negotiating parties since his dismissal from office,” she said. — Sapa-AP, I-Net Bridge