Monday, August 18, 2008

Zim opposition insists on real power

from the NYTimes

"....Mr. Mugabe, whose re-election in a June runoff after 28 years in power was widely seen as a sham, took his place this morning on a dais crowded with other heads of state, but he did not receive his usual adulatory welcome. Dignitaries from across the region were silent, even somber, as the presidents strode into the hall.

Mr. Mbeki told the assembled leaders that he is trying to engineer a final agreement this weekend. And the pressure on him to deliver a deal is evident. Just outside the convention hall where the Southern African Development Community had gathered, there was a raucous anti-Mugabe demonstration of trade unionists allied with Mr. Mbeki’s own governing party.

But Mr. Tsvangirai, seen by some African leaders and Western diplomats as having the only legitimate claim on the presidency after besting Mr. Mugabe in a credible March election, said the most basic issue of how he and Mr. Mugabe would share power remains unsettled.

George Charamba, Mr. Mugabe’s press secretary, said in an interview Thursday that in any power-sharing government Mr. Mugabe would remain as head of the government and in charge of the cabinet — conditions Mr. Tsvangirai said were untenable.

Mr. Tsvangirai said it was acceptable to him if Mr. Mugabe retained the title of president with a role in overseeing the government. And Mr. Tsvangirai is willing to split the cabinet posts between his and the governing party. But all the cabinet ministers would need to report to him, he said. Only a coherent governing structure would enable Zimbabwe to attract the aid from international donors that is essential to rebuilding Zimbabwe’s shattered economy, he said.

“Who is in charge of the cabinet?” Mr. Tsvangirai asked. “To whom do all these ministers report? Can you dismiss them if they breach? It’s fundamental.”....

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