Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, pressed ahead with his unilateral imposition of a new government yesterday, in defiance of a power-sharing deal with Morgan Tsvangirai, by swearing in two new vice-presidents.
They took office hours before South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki, was expected in the capital, Harare, in an attempt to rescue the deal he brokered last month which has stalled over Mugabe’s insistence on taking control of all major cabinet posts, particularly the military, police and justice portfolios.
Under the agreement Tsvangirai is appointed prime minister while Mugabe remains president but with greatly reduced powers. The cabinet is almost evenly divided between the two.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change described the swearing in of Joyce Mujuru and Joseph Msika, Mugabe’s former vice-presidents, as an act of bad faith, even though under the agreement Mugabe is allowed to reappoint them.
The MDC leader has said he will not join an administration in which Mugabe retains control of all major ministries. Without Tsvangirai’s participation there is little chance of a government being recognised outside Zimbabwe.
“It is important that there is an international united response that says the results of the elections need to be respected and a power grab will not be respected,” the foreign secretary, David Miliband, said outside an EU meeting in Luxembourg.
EU foreign ministers said sanctions would not be lifted until the powersharing deal was implemented. The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said: “We are worried about the situation … and will certainly not abandon Mr Tsvangirai.”
Source: The Guardian – UK