Flawed negotiations

2008-08-25 00:00

It is clear that Zimbabwe’s strongman Robert Mugabe is not interested in any deal with the opposition that does not entrench his own power. Mugabe appears to have only sat down to negotiate with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to ease growing African pressure to isolate him and international threats to launch tough sanctions against his regime.

Tsvangirai would lay bare his [Mugabe’s] underhand tactics in the negotiations to the regional leaders. Mugabe has now announced that he will convene “parliament” next week and appoint a “cabinet”, yet negotiations over the powers and the roles and composition of a transitional coalition government of the Zanu-PF and the MDC have deadlocked. Given the bad faith in which Mugabe is conducting these “negotiations”, no deal would be better for Tsvangirai and the MDC than a bad deal. Mugabe has seduced the faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara to agree to terms with promises of a prominent role in a Mugabe cabinet, which may mean that Mutambara could conceivably add his tally of parliamentarians to the Zanu-PF, giving Mugabe a parliamentary majority if a deal is signed with Tsvangirai.

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