Monday, October 13, 2008

Robert Mugabe grabs key Zimbabwe Cabinet posts

from LA Times

Essentially the same story as yesterday, with headline corrected (See below).

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has defied a fragile power-sharing deal with the opposition, giving all key Cabinet posts, including the crucial security ministries, to his own party.

The power grab took Zimbabwe by surprise Saturday, less than a month after the deal was signed. Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa, whose Movement for Democratic Change has said ruling party control of the police would be a deal-breaker, called it "a giant act of madness which puts the whole deal into jeopardy."

The move meant that the 84-year-old Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party would retain their iron grip on the country after 28 years in power. It follows reports that top security chiefs told Mugabe in a recent meeting not to give control of the army, intelligence or police to the opposition.

"The Herald-published list of ministries is a product of unilateral, contemptuous and outrageous machinations by ZANU-PF," Chamisa said.

The power-sharing deal has been in trouble almost since the ink dried Sept. 15, underscoring the opposition's tactical error in failing to insist that control of the security ministries be part of the accord.

ZANU-PF took 14 ministries, including defense, justice, information, foreign affairs and the powerful local government ministry. It also took mines -- the key to the remaining sources of wealth in Zimbabwe, mainly diamonds and platinum -- and land. Two opposition parties were given 16 minor posts, such as parliamentary and constitutional affairs, sport, labor, arts and culture and education....

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