|Major split in Mugabe's Cabinet as deputy premier refuses to quit|
|[The Nation (Nairobi)] Sharp differences have emerged in Zimbabwe's fragile unity government over the fate of one of the deputy Prime Ministers who was demoted by his party but has not left his post after receiving support from President |
Professor Arthur Mutambara who was toppled from the leadership of the small formation of the Movement for Democratic Change last month is supposed to make way for the new leader Professor Welshman Ncube.
Prof Ncube announced a fortnight ago that he would become the Deputy Prime Minister while his predecessor would be demoted to a ministerial post following the change in the party's leadership structure.
But President Mugabe turned down an MDC request to re-assign Prof Mutambara citing legal reasons. Zimbabwe has two deputy prime ministers, one each from the two MDC factions, following the formation of a unity government two years ago.
Prof Ncube's party has accused Mr Mugabe of tribalism after his refusal to fire its former leader saying in June last year he eagerly accepted a request by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to reshuffle his cabinet line-up.
The smaller MDC has its largest support base in the Ndebele speaking south western parts of the country while Mr Tsvangirai's MDC and Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF draw most of their support among the majority Shona population.
Mr George Charamba, the president's , has dismissed the accusations that Mr Mugabe was being tribalistic and accused MDC of trying to use the veteran ruler to solve its internal problems.
"It is not the business of the president to use his powers as an appointing authority to resolve problems of a political party," Mr Charamba told state media on Wednesday.
"Welshman Ncube must deal with the political problem in MDC arising from that party's just ended congress.
"That congress yielded a contested leadership and that is not President Mugabe's problem. Mr Charamba said Prof Ncube's best bet was to persuade Prof Mutambara to agree to be re-deployed or leave the inclusive government.
Prof Ncube who is currently minister of Industry and Commerce announced a fortnight ago that Prof Mutambara had been redeployed to the Regional Integration and International Cooperation portfolio.
The robotics professor has not responded to the redeployment as he has been out of the country attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Despite signing a power sharing agreement in 2008 and forming a unity government with his rivals a year later, Mr Mugabe retained the sole prerogative to appoint or fire any cabinet member.
The two MDC formations can only make recommendations but not State appointments.
Ethnic divisions in the Zimbabwean government are not new. Two years after the country's independence in 1980, President Mugabe fired ministers from PF Zapu led by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo who was popular in the south western parts of the country.
The expulsion was followed by a military excursion that killed 20,000 PF Zapu supporters and were described as a "moment of madness by" Mr Mugabe.
|Zuma Pushes Zimbabwe Gov't Leaders to Settle Differences|
|South African President Jacob Zuma, on a state visit to Zimbabwe which includes mediation of differences in its unity government, said Friday that while Harare is doing well in certain areas, full implementation of the Global Political Agreement is needed to quicken recovery. Mr. Zuma has been engaging unity government principals though sources in Pretoria and Harare said he did not propose to resolve the issues long troubling the "inclusive" government.|
The South African president met with all three Friday at Harare's Rainbow Towers Hotel.
The MDC handed Mr. Zuma a dossier detailing what it calls ZANU-PF breaches of the Global Political Agreement, among them allegedly arbitrary arrests of MDC members and President Mugabe's unilateral 2008 appointments of the Reserve Bank chief and attorney general.
Political sources said President Mugabe told Mr. Zuma all is well in the government, saying the major stumbling block at this point is continuing Western sanctions.
Mr. Zuma asked the principals to meet without him Monday to finally resolve their disputes as to the Reserve Bank and the Office of the Attorney General, as well as the swearing in of provincial governors and other senior officials including Tsvangirai MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett named deputy agriculture minister in February but not yet sworn in.
|Zimbabwe appeals for more investment|
|[Mail and Globe] Zimbabwe's political and business leaders on Friday made an impassioned appeal for an end to sanctions and for more international investment, hours ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Barack Obama. |
"Sanctions in this juncture in our history are meaningless," said Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
"Help us help ourselves by removing all those sanctions so Zimbabwe can have a fresh start," Mutambara told the World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Cape Town.
Mutambara followed former opposition leader Tsvangirai into a unity government in February, hoping to weaken the authority of long-time President Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai is touring Western countries in a bid to persuade them to end sanctions and provide vitally needed aid to kick-start Zimbabwe's battered economy.
But he faces an uphill struggle because of international mistrust of Mugabe, who still seems reluctant to loosen his grip on power and embrace market reforms.
Zimbabwe's cash-strapped African neighbours have failed to respond to its pleas for a $2-billion economic rescue package.
Investors from South Africa -- the continent's richest country -- are waiting the implementation of a new bilateral investment-promotion and -protection agreement before they move in.
"Zimbabwe doesn't have the luxury of time on its side," warned South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
|ZAPU breaks from ZANU PF|
|About 1 000 delegates from throughout Zimbabwe endorsed Zapus formal withdrawal from the 1987 Unity Accord with Zanu PF in a major blow to the former ruling party. The special congress held at Mzilikazis McDonald Hall, five months after disgruntled Zanu PF heavy weights initiated the breakaway, attracted prominent politicians from the region who included Paul Siwela, who contested the 2002 presidential elections, and former speaker of parliament, Cyril Ndebele. Several former members of Zanu PF provincial executives in Matabeleland and the Midlands who left the party last year as cracks widened over President Robert Mugabes reluctance to step down also attended in large numbers. There was also a huge presence of members of the civic society and other parties in the country including the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.|
Dumiso Dabengwa, the Zapu interim chairman said the endorsement of the pullout meant that the former liberation movement was now ready to claim its place as a leading political force in the country. The re-emergence of Zapu and its extrication from the Unity Accord of 1987 is informed by the noble agenda which seeks to renew the Zimbabwe dream through the revival of all, rebuilding infrastructure, providing economic stewardship, building democratic institutions and respect for the rule of law, devolution of power, human rights and civil liberties, Dabengwa told journalists. It is with this message that Zapu wants to restore the respectable nationhood. The will of the people is the pivot around which proper, able and accountable leadership is elected, and true empowerment and emancipation will be the ultimate goal.
He said former Zapu leaders who wanted to remain in Zanu PF were no longer representing the interests of the party. Vice-President Joseph Msika and Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo are some of the leaders who have vowed to stick with Mugabe. The delegates also debated the revived partys new constitution, the recovery of its properties ceased by Mugabes old administration and various strategies to build structures that will turn it into a fully fledged party. Zapu was founded by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo in December 1961 and along Zanu PF prosecuted the countrys liberation war. The party was forced into the Unity Accord after the North Korean trained 5 Brigade launched an assault on people in its strongholds of Matabeleland and the Midlands, where more than 20 000 civilians were killed for supporting Zapu.
The short of it: ZAPU was backed by the Soviets, ZANU by the Chinese. They didn't like each other and fought for control. ZANU won and forced a merger. The 'PF' in ZANU PF is the ZAPU part.
However, the 22-year-old marriage was characterised by bickering over the old Zanu PFs refusal to fulfill commitments it made in the agreement such as rotating the partys leadership, changing party symbols and giving equal opportunities to cadres from Zipra and Zanla, their former military wings. President Mugabes previous administrations were also accused of neglecting Matabelelands development and failing to compensate victims of the Gukurahundi massacres. Dabengwa said another congress would be held to elect substantive leaders for the party once the restructuring exercise had been completed.
|Tsvangirai gives Mugabe ultimatum|
|[Mail and Globe] Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday he had given President Robert Mugabe a deadline on the resolution of issues threatening to derail the country's unity government. |
Tsvangirai was speaking ahead of a third meeting between the two leaders on Thursday over the unilateral claw-back by Mugabe of the telecommunications dossier from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"The outstanding issues cannot go on and on hanging over our hands," said Tsvangirai, while refusing to reveal what sort of ultimatum he had issued 85-year-old Mugabe.
Mugabe earlier this month took telecommunications off MDC Information Minister Nelson Chamisa and gave it to Transport Minister Nicholas Goche -- a member of the Zanu-PF party. The move outraged the MDC, given that telecommunications covers spying.
The ongoing invasion of white-owned farms by Zanu-PF loyalists and Mugabe's refusal to review his unilateral appointments of the central bank governor and attorney general are other issues
threatening to scupper the deal and putting the skids on foreign aid and investment.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has appealed for 10 billion dollars to rebuild the tattered economy but Western donors are waiting for proof of real reforms before committing to anything more than emergency relief for the millions of Zimbabweans, who cannot feed themselves.
So far, two meetings between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway faction of Tsvangirai's MDC and the third signatory to September's power-sharing agreement, have failed to resolve the issues.
|Zim sets up committee to draft new Constitution|
|[Mail and Globe] A committee responsible for drafting a democratic Constitution, following the establishment of a new power-sharing government in Zimbabwe nearly two moths ago, was announced on Sunday. |
The 25-member committee of deputies drawn from the country's 210-seat lower chamber of Parliament was announced by the speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, state radio reported. The body will be responsible for drafting a new Constitution by February 2010, to be judged in a referendum by July and finally passed by the end of the year.
This was according to a broad power-sharing agreement signed last September by President Robert Mugabe, who has held power since independence in 1980, pro-democracy opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is now prime minister in the new coalition administration, and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a lesser faction of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
For the last decade, Zimbabwe has been in crisis, with pro-democracy movements demanding a new Constitution. Mugabe has refused to cede power and, according to international election observers, bludgeoned his way to remain in power through rigged elections and savage brutality against the MDC, the first serious challenge to his authority since 1980.
However, last year, after Tsvangirai's MDC won a majority in parliamentary elections and Mugabe had himself declared winner of a violent presidential election, the two rivals agreed to a power-sharing deal that would lead to the draft of a new democratic Constitution.
The drafting committee was to meet on Monday, the speaker said.
Human rights groups have demanded full participation in the process.
Zimbabwe last had a constitutional conference in 2000, when a draft doctored to ensure Mugabe's continued rule was heavily outvoted in a referendum, costing his Zanu-PF party its first defeat in a national vote.
|Mugabe hopes ''new era'' in Zimpolitix|
|(Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe President Mugabe has said he hoped that the agreement by the country's tree main political parties to form an inclusive government by Feb. 13 marks the beginning of a new era in Zimbabwe's politics, The Herald reported on Wednesday. |
The agreement was made at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit which ended early on Tuesday morning in Tshwane, South Africa, though opposition MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti made a sudden U-turn, contradicting a communiqušŠ issued after the meeting.
Speaking to the media at the Harare International Airport after returning from the summit, Mugabe confirmed that the opposition had finally agreed to join the inclusive government.
President Mugabe said he hoped that this marks the beginning of a new era in Zimbabwe's politics.
"We did agree that an inclusive government should be formed. Dates have been stipulated for the various activities, which include the formation of the government itself with the swearing-in of the top people, that is the prime minister and deputy prime ministers, then the ministers, and then that the government should be in place," he said.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai should be sworn in on February 11 along with opposition MDC leader Arthur Mutambara as Deputy Prime Ministers.
President Mugabe said once the government is in place, it will start looking into the concerns raised by opposition MDC-T, including the issue of the appointment of provincial governors.
"This shall start with the constitutional amendment in Parliament which will legalize this whole framework. It (Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill) should be debated in Parliament soon. We do hope that things will open up now. This is a new chapter in political relations in our country and in the structure of Government," Mugabe said.
Under the agreement, President Mugabe remains head of state and government, commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, chair of cabinet and chair of the National Security Council šD currently constituted as the Joint Operations Command.
Asked how the efficacy of the inclusive Government will be determined, Mugabe said: "The enforcement shall be by us. We have an in-built mechanism to monitor this. And after six months, there will be a review of the progress made or the lack of it. In light of this, there should be compliance, I certainly hope there will be."
"However, the MDC-T, after consultations with suspected British and American intelligence officers, issued a conflicting statement against the SADC position. Speaking to the international media on Tuesday, party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa dismissed (South African) President (Kgalema) Motlanthe's statement, saying SADC had fallen far short of our expectations," the Zimbabwe president said.
"We did put to the summit our position on the outstanding issues. Unfortunately, our expectations were not met, our case was not received. In fact, there was no objective understanding and assessment of the situation," he said.
According to SADC chairperson and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai had agreed to the SADC position in a closed-door session.
This is not the first time that MDC-T has turned against propositions by SADC in the regional body's efforts to salvage the September 15 broad-based agreement signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and MDC leader Arthur Mutambara.
Last week, Tsvangirai agreed to a proposition by SADC facilitator to the talks, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza for the formation of the inclusive Government, but made a counter-proposal after making "consultations".
MDC-T has disregarded several SADC proposals for the implementation of the agreement, saying it wanted "outstanding issues" to be resolved before they could join the government.
According to a communiqušŠ issued by SADC on Tuesday, the summit noted that Zimbabweans are faced with difficult challenges and suffering that could only be addressed once an inclusive Government is in place.
|SADC set to throw in towel on Zim|
|SADC threatened to drop its mediation effort on Zimbabwe as another attempt to form a unity government in the country failed late yesterday. Prime minister-elect Morgan Tsvangirai described the failure as "the darkest day of our lives". South Africa's President Kgalema Motlanthe and former president Thabo Mbeki and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza representing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) failed to persuade the MDC leader, Tsvangirai, and President Robert Mugabe to overcome their differences in another marathon session in Harare yesterday. They differed mainly over who gets key positions such as the home affairs ministry which controls the police.|
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao emerged from yesterday's talks and told reporters: "The meeting was not conclusive." He said SADC would call another regional summit in either Botswana or South Africa on January 26 to try to secure an agreement. Salamao also made it clear in conversations that if Tsvangirai and Mugabe cannot come to an agreement by then, SADC would drop its mediation effort on Zimbabwe. As he told diplomats, there were many other "pressing" problems in the SADC region. The differences between Mugabe and Tsvangirai have prevented them implementing a political agreement they signed four months ago to form an inclusive government in which Mugabe would remain president and Tsvangirai become prime minister.
Motlanthe convened yesterday's talks as SADC chairman, Mbeki is SADC's mediator on Zimbabwe. Guebuza represented SADC's security arm. Several previous rounds of talks, facilitated by SADC to overcome differences on the division of ministries and other issues, have also deadlocked. Well-placed sources said that after heavy pressure was put on Mugabe by Guebuza and Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller MDC faction, he finally agreed to give up some provincial Zanu PF governors he had already appointed in provinces won by Tsvangirai's MDC in the March 29 elections. He also agreed to reconsider some senior civil service appointments he made without consultation with the MDC since the political agreement for a unity government was signed in September. SADC mediators believed that Tsvangirai had also agreed to make some concessions, but was dissuaded by his powerful secretary-general Tendai Biti and prominent Harare lawyer Innocent Chagonda.
Some MDC sources believe Tsvangirai himself believes he should take the MDC into a transitional unity government as a first step towards fresh elections under a new constitution in 18 months. Several MPs loyal to Tsvangirai said they were disappointed at the failure of the talks. One said he believed that if the next summit failed and SADC walked away from mediating the Zimbabwe crisis, Mugabe would be able to go ahead with new elections without regional censure, and would win as there would be no international supervision and no constitutional amendment 19 to form independent commissions to control elections, human rights and the media. Constitutional amendment 19 also creates the new post of prime minister for Tsvangirai in the unity government. It was due to come before parliament today but will now presumably be delayed.
Tsvangirai's MDC has a one-seat parliamentary majority over Zanu PF which has most senate seats, with Mutambara's MDC holding the balance of power of 10 parliamentary seats. Although Mutambara has said both MDCs should enter the unity government as it is the only chance to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, he said before negotiations began yesterday that he was backing Tsvangirai and called for Mugabe to make "compromises". "I am sure the whole nation is waiting anxiously for the resolution of this crisis. We are committed to this deal but subject to Zanu PF conceding on these issues," Tsvangirai told reporters before he left the five-star hotel in Harare where the talks were held. He had presented regional mediators and Mugabe with his bottom lines which included the re-allocation of some ministries and the release of about 30 opposition supporters who have been detained on suspicion of sabotage or plotting with Botswana to topple Mugabe by force.
|Tsvangirai refuses to join government|
|(Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has turned down President Robert Mugabe's invitation to return to Zimbabwe and be sworn in as Prime Minister, local media reported on Saturday. |
According to a letter Tsvangirai wrote to President Mugabe on Dec., 2008 and published by the Post newspaper of Zambia on New Year's Day, the opposition leader claimed further negotiations were still required. The letter was left at Zimbabwe's Embassy in Botswana by a "source who refused to identify himself", The Herald said.
Tsvangirai's letter comes at a time when the U.S. State Department has announced that it was opposed to the envisaged inclusive government. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer announced on Dec. 21 that the U.S. was "withdrawing support for the inclusive Government."
However, the daily newspaper said it is reliably informed that the ruling Zanu-PF and another opposition MDC fraction are moving ahead with finalizing the formation of the envisaged inclusive government. A senior government official confirmed that President Mugabe and MDC leader Arthur Mutambara met on Wednesday to map the way forward in the formation of the inclusive government regardless of Tsvangirai's letter.
In his letter, Tsvangirai said he was not prepared to finalise the agreement. He said he wanted another meeting between himself and President Mugabe in the presence of South African interim President and SADC Chair Kgalema Motlanthe.
"I acknowledge receipt of a copy of your letter dated 17 December 2008 and my passport, delivered to me on Christmas Day by the South African High Commissioner to Botswana Dikgang Moopeloa," he said. "I am sure you are anxious to proceed to the successful implementation of the Global Political Agreement, anxiety that I share, but the issues are so profound that we must act in a logical sequence," Tsvangirai told Mugabe in his letter.
This was the first time that the opposition openly admitted that Tsvangirai had been formally invited to take the post of Prime Minister. But analysts said this demonstrated that Tsvangirai was looking for excuses to sabotage the inclusive Government in light of indications by the U.S. and other Western countries that they would not support the envisaged inclusive government.
Tsvangirai is still holed up in Botswana despite receiving his passport. Before he was issued with a passport, Tsvangirai cited the absence of a travelling document as his reason for not coming back home.
|African nations not brave enough to topple me: Mugabe|
|For once, Bob is right.|
On the bright side, this is the sort of thing dictators say immediately prior to somebody else dumping them. I think Ceaucescu said something similar once.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has accused the United States of urging African nations to topple him, adding that none were "brave enough to do that", state media reported on Friday.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently called on Mugabe to step down and urged southern African states to pressure the 84-year-old leader to resolve the longstanding political deadlock in the country, ravished by a collapsed economy and deadly cholera epidemic.
Mugabe referred to what he said were "recent utterances by Condoleezza Rice that African leaders are not prepared to topple President Mugabe and bring about regime change," the Herald newspaper reported. "She condemned this ability on the part of African leaders. How could African leaders ever topple Robert Mugabe, organise an army to come? It is not easy," the Herald reported. "I do not know of any African country that is brave enough to do that," Mugabe was quoted as telling a meeting of his ZANU-PF party.
Few African nations have been openly critical of Mugabe although Botswana's President Ian Khama infuriated his Zimbabwean counterpart last month by calling for a re-run of disputed elections under international supervision. The veteran leader also said he would soon discuss forming a unity government with his two political rivals. Negotiations to form the government following a power-sharing in September have deadlocked.
"We will be inviting the two leaders -- Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara -- to come and discuss the way forward," said Mugabe. Unity government discussions have stalled over disagreements on the allocation of key ministries, including home affairs, which controls the police.
|Zimbabwe's opposition MDC rejects SADC demands|
|JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Southern African leaders said on Sunday that Zimbabwe's political rivals must split the leadership of a key ministry, a move rejected by the opposition in a further sign that power-sharing talks were unraveling. The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) said in a resolution Zimbabwe's squabbling political parties should form a unity government immediately to end a stalemate over the allocation of ministries.|
But opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was "shocked and saddened" by the outcome of a summit, which brought together leaders and ministers of SADC countries for more than 12 hours of talks on Zimbabwe's political impasse and the violence in eastern Congo. "The MDC is shocked and saddened that SADC summit has failed to tackle these key issues ... a great opportunity has been missed by SADC to bring an end to the Zimbabwean crisis," Tsvangirai said at a post-summit news conference.
SADC said Tsvangirai did not agree with SADC's call for his Movement for Democratic Change to co-manage Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Ministry with President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF.
The resolution calling for joint control of the ministry -- which controls Zimbabwe's police and is the main sticking point in the talks -- was backed by all 15 members of SADC, said Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway MDC faction.
The SADC said a unity government must be formed. "We need to form an inclusive government, today or tomorrow," SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao told reporters late on Sunday night after the summit in South Africa. "... SADC was asked to rule and SADC took a decision and that's the position of SADC. Now it's up to the parties to implement," he said.
|'Pressure can't conclude Zimbabwe deal'|
|Robert Mugabe's aide says Zimbabwe will not bow to pressure but will seek advice from other African leaders on forming a power-sharing government. "They can't impose anything on us, especially on such a small matter as the allocation of ministries," The chief negotiator for President Robert Mugabe's party, Patrick Chinamasa, was quoted as saying by the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper. |
Chinamasa stressed that Mugabe and opposition leaders are to meet Monday with the presidents of Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland in Mbabane, Swaziland.
The three nations represent the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) which has supported former South African President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to mediate Zimbabwe's political crisis. "All the principals and their negotiating teams are going (to the meeting). Delegations from the three parties will be called upon to clarify any issues. After this, the troika will guide us on the way forward," Chinamasa highlighted.
Mbeki left Harare early Saturday after four days of talks failed to resolve which 15 ministries Mugabe's ZANU party should get. Mbeki was to submit a report on the stalled negotiations to the three regional nations.
Under the power-sharing deal signed Sept. 15, thirteen Cabinet posts are to go to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's party and three others to a smaller opposition party led by Arthur Mutambara.
The opposition has accused Mugabe of trying to hold onto too many key posts.
Last week, Mugabe appointed three members of his party as head of key ministries of defense, home affairs and finance. Tsvangirai, who had threatened to pull out of talks after Mugabe's move, said on Saturday that he was committed to continue talks with his rival party until a final solution is reached.