Mbeki to query Mugabe s ministry allocation

October 12, 2008 12:00 am

, JOHANNESBURG, October 12 – President Robert Mugabe’s allocation of key ministries to his party will be discussed when former South African president Thabo Mbeki meets Monday with Zimbabwe’s political leaders, Mbeki’s spokesman said.

"Mr Mbeki is travelling to Zimbabwe tomorrow (Monday). The allocation of the ministries and all other issues will be discussed in Harare when he meets that country’s political leaders," Mukoni Ratshitanga told AFP Sunday.

The spokesman for the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Nelson Chamisa, on Sunday issued a passionate appeal to Mbeki and regional bloc SADC to help resolve the power-sharing crisis.

"Mr Mbeki, please help Zimbabwe. We need your help. We also need the help of and support of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) in Zimbabwe," Chamisa said in an interview on SA FM radio.

He described Mugabe’s decision to grab the key ministries for his party as "arrogant, unilateral and unacceptable.

"It kills the talks completely. This (action) flies in the face of the dialogue and an attempt by the SADC to help us out of this crisis. Clearly, it is an act in bad faith," said Chamisa.

A government notice carried by the state-run Herald newspaper said Saturday the veteran leader had given his ZANU-PF party 14 ministries, including the defence, home, foreign affairs, justice, local government and media portfolios.

Furthermore Mugabe — in power since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain — would retain control of the army, police and other state security apparatus, the notice said.

According to the report, Tsvangirai’s MDC gets 13 portfolios, including constitutional and parliamentary affairs, economic planning and investment promotion, labour and social welfare, sport, the arts and culture.

The splinter MDC group led by Arthur Mutambara would get three ministries.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara signed a power-sharing deal brokered by Mbeki on September 15 in Harare.

Mbeki is SADC-mandated mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis.

Under the agreement, 84-year-old Mugabe remains as president while Tsvangirai takes the new post of prime minister.

But efforts to form the government have become bogged down over disputes about who will control the most important ministries, such as defence, home affairs and finance.

Saturday’s shock announcement came hours after negotiators for the three main parties in the stand-off, including ZANU-PF, urged Mbeki to step in once again to resolve the deadlock over the allocation of the ministries.


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