‘End softly-softly Mbeki-type talks’

2008-10-20 00:00

Cape Town — “Give President Robert Mugabe an ultimatum on power-sharing.’’

This was the call to President Kgalema Motlanthe from the Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday as the deadlock over the allocation of cabinet ministries between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had still not been resolved.

DA Foreign Affairs spokesman Joe Seremane yesterday urged Motlanthe to mobilise the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to give Mugabe an ultimatum to share the key ministries with the MDC or face the prospect of not having his government recognised by SADC.

SADC’s troika on peace, politics and security was due to meet in Mbabane, Swaziland, yesterday.

The DA call came in the wake of reports that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai did not attend the talks, aimed at saving the power-sharing deal. An MDC official said he did not have the required travel documents.

While negotiators try to solve the impasse Zimbabwe moves closer to starvation, with an estimated six million people expected to be food-insecure by April 2009.

Seremane said Thabo Mbeki’s failure to resolve the deadlock reaffirms the perception that he is incapable of finding a permanent solution. He said that, as the current chair of SADC, South Africa has the leverage with which to seek a permanent solution.

“President Motlanthe must use this leverage decisively to resolve the deadlock over the allocation of cabinet posts. He must make a clean break from Mbeki’s softly-softly approach which has helped to extend Mugabe’s grip on power, rather than produce the desperately-needed solution to Harare’s political woes and crumbling economy.’’

Seremane pointed to quotes from Zanu-PF leaders that “it is easy dealing with Mbeki because he has lots of respect for our president”.

“President Motlanthe must deviate from this approach and treat all parties with equal respect to resolve the political dispute in Zimbabwe.”

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