HARARE, Oct 7 – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Friday called the unity government with Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai “an incompatible marriage” and apologised to his party for failing to call for elections this year to end the compromise arrangement.
“This lack of comprehension is the heavy price we are paying for an incompatible marriage borne out of 2008,” Mugabe said in the state-owned Herald newspaper.
“We voted for it, as we voted against ourselves. But still it is with us and those riding on the chariot of this creature and enjoying it don’t want the pleasure to go,” Mugabe told a meeting of his ZANU-PF party.
“It is an illegitimate one because it’s a political creature not really born out of the wishes of the people but the wishes of the parties to create a transition to elections.”
The power-sharing government was formed in 2009 to end the nation’s descent into violence after Tsvangirai won a first-round presidential vote, sparking a wave of attacks that left more than 200 of his supporters dead.
Mugabe’s rule had grown increasingly autocratic since he took power from Britain at independence in 1980, and he has bristled at even the modest trimming of his power under the unity accord.
The 87-year-old, already backed as his party’s next presidential candidate, had pressed for new elections this year but was rebuffed after Tsvangirai won regional support for insisting on more democratic reforms first.
The unity deal calls for a new constitution, approved by referendum, before holding new polls. Tsvangirai also wants reform in the security forces, which remain firmly in Mugabe’s grip.
“I am sorry we have not been in control of the mechanisms, mechanisms that we thought would lay the road to an election this year in terms of our decision taken at our last conference” in December 2010, Mugabe said.
He called for peace ahead of new elections, which he said should be held by March.
“Let us work for a culture of peace and non-violence and let us take this message to our provinces and districts and the people will welcome that,” he said.
Every election since 2000 has been marred by violence, directed mainly at Tsvangirai’s supporters.