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Confusion reigns in Zim talks
Confusion reigns in Zim talks
August 13 2008
Harare - Confusion and consternation reigned at the end
of three days
of power-sharing talks for Zimbabwe amid reports that
Mugabe and a breakaway opposition leader had agreed on a
If confirmed, the agreement would exclude
Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of the main Movement for Democratic Change. He
won the first round of
presidential elections in March but boycotted the
runoff to protest
widespread violence against opposition
It would also likely prompt protests from the West -
and also some
African governments - for allowing the 84-year-old Mugabe to
cling to his
increasingly autocratic 28-year reign that has driven his once
nation to economic ruin.
South African President
Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the talks, did not
comment to reporters
Welshman Ncube, spokesperson for the splinter faction of
for Democratic Change, denied reports that his boss, Arthur
signed an accord with Mugabe.
"It's a lie," he
Earlier, officials from the ruling party and the main
movement led by Tsvangirai said that Mugabe and Mutambara had
agreement. They spoke on condition of anonymity because mediator
insisted on confidentiality.
Mutambara himself would
not comment before Mbeki issued a statement.
But his body language exuded
confidence as he left three days of
negotiations - in contrast to Tsvangirai
who looked bleak.
Tsvangirai's faction has 100 seats in Parliament,
ahead of the ruling
ZANU-PF's 99. Mutambara's faction holds ten. He agreed
to form a
parliamentary alliance with Tsvangirai after the March elections,
but if he
now switches allegiances, it will give the majority to Mugabe's
However, it is uncertain whether all his lawmakers will follow him
Mugabe won the run-off of Zimbabwe's
presidential elections after
Tsvangirai boycotted it to protest widespread
violence. Tsvangirai won the
first round, though not by an outright
Mugabe brushed off questions as he left the hotel in the
Harare after three days of gruelling talks, saying: "I'm
But he denied that the negotiations had failed. "Talks
collapse as long as we have tongues," he said.
key stumbling block has been how much power Mugabe is willing to
cede to the
Tsvangirai has said he could work with
moderates from Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party, but not with Mugabe.
Zanu-PF and powerful police and army generals of the Joint Operational
Command insist Mugabe must remain president. His security and police chiefs
reportedly were worried that he would make too many concessions at the
power-sharing negotiations and strip them of their privileges - and
potentially their protection from prosecution.
One of the
contentious issues was whether Zanu-PF would retain control
over the police
and army in any power-sharing formula.
Mugabe and Zanu-PF have
ruled Zimbabwe since the country gained
independence in 1980. But his land
reform policies that have laid waste to
the country's once-thriving
agricultural sector and he has resorted to
repression to hold on to
Zimbabwe now has the world's highest rate of inflation, the
of the population is unemployed and basic goods and food hard to
Mutambara said he would give a news conference Wednesday.
been rumours that Mutambara might break ranks with Tsvangirai in
a government post. He was welcomed as a "guest" at a ceremony
held by Mugabe
He was briefly arrested earlier this
year for criticising Mugabe but
since then seems to have made
At a ceremony marking Armed Forces Day on Tuesday, Mugabe
military and distributed medals to retired and serving military
"It is a result of the alert, vigilant and patriotic
manner they have
conducted their day-to-day duties," he said, promising more
pay hikes and
housing for soldiers.
Independent monitors and
human rights activists accuse the military of
being implicated in violence
and intimidation targeting opposition
Watch accused the ruling party and its allies of
involvement in the killings
of at least 163 people, and the beatings and
torture of more than 5 000
others since the March elections.
The group said 32 opposition
supporters have been killed since the
June 27 runoff, and two since Zanu-PF
and the opposition signed the
memorandum of understanding that paved the way
for negotiations on a
power-sharing government. - Sapa-AP
Mbeki denies collapse of Zimbabwe talks
August 13, 2008,
President Thabo Mbeki has poured cold water
on speculation that talks
between Zimbabwe's rival parties have collapsed.
This follows Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
dramatic storming out of
the talks last night.
However Mbeki says
Tsvangirai has requested time to think through an
unspecified aspect of the
proposed power sharing arrangement. The dialogue
is now set to resume at a
Mbeki heads for Angola today, where he will brief President
Jose Eduardo dos
Santos, who heads the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) organ on
Mbeki says the break is to allow
Tsvangirai time to consider an unspecified
aspect, of the proposed
power-sharing setup, already accepted by Mugabe and
leader of a faction of
MDC Arthur Mutambara. Sources suggest this may have
to do with a proposal,
to make the yet to be created prime minister's
position, account to the
president and his deputies.
Mbeki says he has no doubt the current round
of talks will result in a
power-sharing deal, as none of the parties can
single handedly haul Zimbabwe
out of the quagmire.
Mutambara camp has rebuffed speculation that it has clinched a
deal with Mugabe that excludes Tsvangirai.
Mutambara sells out
August 13 2008 at
By Basildon Peta, Hans Pienaar and Fiona Forde
President Robert Mugabe has brokered a deal with Arthur Mutambara, as
Tsvangirai refuses to play second fiddle in his government.
before 8pm last night, the Movement for Democratic Change
leader stormed out
of the South African-facilitated negotiations, which now
appear to be headed
Although both parties were quick to quell rumours
negotiations are over, with MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti
are taking time out", and Mugabe saying, "Talks can never
collapse as long
as we have tongues", word emerged soon after that Mutambara
had agreed to
fill the void left by Tsvangirai's departure.
leader of the smaller MDC faction declined to comment, saying
President Thabo Mbeki would speak on the leaders' behalf.
However, by the
time this newspaper went to print, the South African
facilitation team had
Earlier in the day, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad
successful outcome at this stage would be a "plus", but "if no
reached, the parties must be encouraged to continue talking
until a solution
However, dialogue would appear
difficult at this point. For more than
72 hours Tsvangirai stood his ground
during the talks, refusing to accept a
junior partnership in a Mugabe-led
The 56-year-old former union leader was pushing for
powers in a government to which Mugabe would serve as
based on Tsvangirai's claim that he is the majority
winner in the March 29
As the talks entered their third
day, it became increasingly apparent
that Mugabe was not about to hand over
the keys to Harare's State House. In
recent days, his spokesperson George
Charamba had said agreeing to
Tsvangirai's proposal would relegate the
84-year-old incumbent to "Queen in
the Zimbabwean body-politic", something
Mugabe would never accept.
Shortly after the talks broke down last
night, MDC media aide Andrew
Chadwick was arrested at the venue, but was
released a few hours later.
Although no explanation was given for
his arrest, he had been named in
last Saturday's edition of the state media
by Mugabe's spokesperson George
Charamba as the person who had leaked a
document to The Star last week which
outlined a proposal.
document outlined a proposal with Tsvangirai as the executive
Mugabe as the ceremonial president, complete with an exit plan
Zanu-PF chief that would see him retire peacefully after the
the life-long title of the Founding President of the
country, free from
persecution under a blanket amnesty.
In response, Charamba labelled
The Star's reporter a British spy, and,
falsely, claimed that Chadwick was
the source of the information.
"Fiona Forde, South Africa's
starless reporter, did wonderfully well
to become the poke-and-probe stick
for the British," Charamba wrote.
"Not many. knew she would turn
out to be a serial rapist of truth on
the talks, together with Andrew
This article was originally published on page 1 of
The Star on August
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of
13 August 2008
Posted to the web 13 August 2008
PRESIDENT Mugabe and MDC leader Arthur Mutambara yesterday
agreement paving the way for Cde Mugabe to form the next
Although MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai did not sign, it was
negotiations would continue until he appended his signature to
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who has been
negotiations, is expected to issue a statement
Insiders last night said Tsvangirai refused to append his
signature to the
political settlement after being advised to only proceed
with the talks
after a "cooling-off period".
The insiders indicated
that Tsvangirai had been changing positions during
the talks and that he had
even misled his negotiators who had been meeting
in South Africa over the
past three weeks.
However, the sources said, this did not mean that the
talks had been
concluded and President Mugabe and Mutambara were still
willing to talk to
"President Mugabe and the leader of
the opposition MDC have signed the
agreement. Tsvangirai refused to do so at
the last moment, but this does not
of the other two parties have agreed that they cannot wait
any longer and
the nation demands progress. As such, President Mugabe will
go ahead and
form the next Government and Parliament will soon sit.
understands that the negotiations cannot be stalled any
longer," one of the
He said President Mbeki would be flying to Angola
today to brief the Sadc
Organ on Politics, Defence and Security on the
progress of the talks.
Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos is the
current chair of the organ.
"President Mbeki will brief Angola as the
chair of the organ on defence. The
negotiators found it unfortunate that
Tsvangirai pulled out at the eleventh
hour, but the talks are not
It is understood that the three party leaders had been appending
signatures to agreements as they were reached in the presence of
However, yesterday Tsvangirai reportedly came to
the talks with a new
position paper that overruled the agreements that had
already been reached
and this did not go down well with any of the
negotiators, including those
from his own party.
It is believed that
the new position paper was compiled by a Western embassy
and that it was
deliberately tabled to force a deadlock.
The sources said the document, a
copy of which was shown to The Herald and
is titled Notes on the Dialogue to
Date, sought to repudiate agreements
reached thus far.
Tsvangirai states that the basis for any negotiations is the
March 29 election - a position that the West has been vocally
"After presenting it, he could not even defend it and
this led the parties
to the negotiations to believe that he was not its
"The paper came as a surprise even to Tsvangirai's negotiators
objected to its introduction as it sought to override the
had already been reached by the three parties.
seemed that reason would prevail for the sake of progress, but at the
minute Tsvangirai declined to sign. That is why you saw (Tendai) Biti
afterwards that he was confident the negotiations would continue.
fear is that Tsvangirai might take too long to sign the agreement, in
case the other two parties will simply go ahead and form the next
Government," the source said.
Biti, who is Tsvangirai's
secretary-general, told the media that there were
"sticking points" but the
talks were likely to continue.
"The talks have not collapsed. We are on a
time-out and we are most likely
to continue tomorrow (today). There are some
sticking points still there,"
Mutambara said he would
address a Press conference today updating the nation
on the status of the
President Mugabe told the media that the talks would continue. "As
we have tongues we will continue talking," he said.
not be established if the three parties would be meeting again
President Mugabe is now expected to announce a new Cabinet
would be called into session "soon", the source said.
----- Original Message -----
From: Trudy Stevenson
August 13, 2008 4:42 PM
friends, I have been receiving all kinds of information and calls, I have
absolutely no idea what has really happened or why. It is inconceivable that we
could have signed any agreement with ZanuPF without the Tsvangirai group also
signing, since we have been negotiating as one team since July last
Therefore I am trying to get the correct information, and will send
that out as soon as possible.
Where is Makoni?
If Simba is for real, why does he not join with Morgan and throw his 9% pres
votes to him & counter Bob's trickery??
Please pass this question
onto the leading journalists following Zim events.
Many thanks for your
Mugabe pulls a fast one, finds Pasty to
join in “Unity” government
Posted on August 12th, 2008
Yes, Professor Mutambara
is a brilliant computer scientist.
And when he was young, he led a student uprising against ZANU-PF.
But now it looks like the professor is doing a deal with the devil to get
power in Zimbabwe, and the story is not a pretty one.
A year ago, there was a lot of confusion among the opposition MDC in Zimbabwe
(this is not unusual: Think Hillary versus Obama). There are a lot of different
groups that fight with each other all the time: Which is one reason that Mugabe
has stayed in power so long.
One segment of the MDC supported cooperating with the next election, and the
other smaller segment opposed it.
The smaller group opposing elections were led by a minority tribe Ndebele
membere, Ncube. There is a lot of rivalry between the two tribes, so in a
political move, in 2006,
he was replaced with Mutambara, who belongs to the majority Shona tribe.
Another reason was that, as an outsider, Mutambara was not tainted by the
political struggles between the various groups.
Fast forward a year: Morgan Tsvangarai, after suffering a beating by Mugabe’s
thugs, became a hero,and then the opposition party MDC won the elections.
Yes, I know “officially” the count was a tie and a run off was scheduled, but
it took several weeks to “count” the votes, and a lot of people figure that a
lot of creative vote counting was being done…and that despite voter intimidation
the vote was so in favor of Tsvangirai that Mugabe didn’t dare pretend that he
won in a landslide.
So the backup plan was instigated: terrorize the voters, threaten the
villagers (for example tell them they will not get food aid if the village votes
incorrectly), and make sure all the members of congress who won seats go into
hiding in fear of their lives…and indeed, as a result of the violence, Tsangirai
withdrew from the race, allowing Mugabe to “Win” the runoff-election.
The world watched this in silence.
Given a world afraid of direct intervention, and given a compliant South
African president Mbeki who essentially has ignored Mugabe’s violence while
insisting that “talks” are the way to go.
Except talks are going no where: Mugabe just refuses to cede power.
Last week, Mutambara
gave a “Heroes day” speech that blasted the west and echoed the propaganda
line of Mugabe’s party. This was seen as a signal that he was planning to make a
deal on the side.
Now there are reports that Mutambara has entered into a “side deal” with
Mugabe. Theoretically, he could lead his part of the opposition party into a
joint government with the ZANU PF party of Mugabe; since the earlier vote was
essentially 48-49, this splinter group could give Mugabe the majority he needs
under the constitutionThis would allow Mugabe to claim he is in charge of a
This of course leaves the Tsvangirai segment of the opposition out in the
There is a question if his faction of the opposition knows or approves of
this “deal”: The
But David Coltart, a senator from the breakaway faction, said that if Mr.
Mutambara had made such a side deal — and he had no confirmation that he had —
it would have been without a mandate from the faction’s national executive and
was highly unlikely to be supported by the faction’s 10 members of Parliament or
But this doesn’t matter.
This is merely to give countries that don’t care about free elections can go
ahead and invest their money while pretending the government is legitamate.
Presumably, this places Mutambara as a powerful leader to run in future
But in my opinion, Mutambara is a fool if he thinks that the powerful ZANU PF
politicians who had been in line to succeed Mugabe will sit back and let him
take over should something happen to Mugabe.
This assumes the MDC will be grateful for his dealmaking, which is doubtful,
and the ZANU PF politicians who in the past were considered Mugabe’s successors
will merely sit back and let him take over.
And then there is the Army: since the elections, the Army has essentially
taken over the running of the government and left Mugabe as merely a
This usually suggests a military coup is in the future, if Mugabe should die
or become incapacitated.
Perhaps Mr. Mutambara should remember the Chinese proverb: He who rides the
tiger must beware of the dismount.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She
writes about Zimbabwe at Makaipa