Tsvangirai in Nairobi for coalition tips

August 21, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 21 – Zimbabwean Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in Kenya Thursday for a one-day visit to borrow ideas on resolving the political crisis in his country.

Tsvangirai immediately held talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga upon arrival Thursday morning.

“The talks were aimed at sharing experiences as well as ideas on ending the mess back home,” he said.

The opposition leader noted that Zimbabwe had a lot to borrow from Kenya’s experience, as the southern African country was exposed to a similar circumstance that was felt after the 2007 General Election, which led to the creation of a Grand Coalition Government in Kenya.

Tsvangirai said that ongoing discussions centred on sharing power between his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF, which he termed as the major stumbling block.

He said power sharing would be the most suitable political solution to return Zimbabwe to normalcy.

“There is progress in the talks, but there is one stumbling issue that we have been juggling with; the framework and roles of the President and the new position of the Prime Minister for the duration of the transition, leading up to two and a half years.”

He said there should be genuine and equal sharing of power without undermining either of the parties.

“We don’t want cohabitation,” stated Tsvangirai, “we want cooperation and sharing of power, not sharing of positions in the sense that the executive authority is shared between the President’s office and the PM’s office.”

On plans by President Mugabe to open Parliament next week for the first time since members were elected four months ago, the opposition leader said such a step would undermine power sharing talks.

"Convening parliament is in violation of some of the things we signed last month that opened the way to power sharing talks," Tsvangirai said.

Members of Zimbabwe’s Parliament are scheduled to be sworn in on Monday and Mugabe will then open their session on Tuesday.

He said such a violation would ‘have to be dealt with by the mediator,’ that is, South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Tsvangirai, who was scheduled to visit South Africa and West Africa to make further consultations on the stalemate in his country, has expressed optimism that he and President Mugabe would find a solution soon. 


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