Tsvangirai wants end to political impasse in Zimbabwe

21st November 2008, Comments 0 comments

Tsvangirai, who wrested the title of prime minister from Mugabe's ruling party, was in Germany to campaign for more support for his country.

Berlin -- Zimbabwean prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai said Thursday he was confident of an end to the political impasse holding up the formation of a government of national unity.

"We will find a solution. It may take some time, but we will find a solution. The position of President Robert Mugabe is untenable," he said in an interview with DPA.

Speaking after talks with German officials, he said this would come after issues relating to the definition of the prime minister's powers and the allocation of government ministries had been resolved.

Tsvangirai, who wrested the title of prime minister from Mugabe's ruling party after the opposition won the first parliamentary majority in nearly 30 years, was in Germany to campaign for more support for his country.

Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been in tough negotiations for months, with the assistance of regional leaders, over the makeup of a new government.

But the talks have stalled over who should have control of the home affairs ministry, which is responsible for the police, and whether the president or the prime minister would have the power to dismiss ministers.

On September 15, former South African president Thabo Mbeki got Mugabe, Tsvangirai and MDC breakaway faction leader Arthur Mutambara to sign up to a deal to govern together.

But the deal is on the verge of collapse, as Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of grabbing all the key ministries for his party, including home affairs, foreign affairs and defense.

Tsvangirai said the MDC wanted an equitable share of the 31 government portfolios that would be distributed if a new coalition is formed.

"We identified 10 ministries we wanted and out of those finance was the only one that came to us. We can't talk about home affairs because it is still contested.

"We have a deal that offers the people of Zimbabwe the chance of transparency and transition. It is up to Mugabe to stick to it," he said. "We have compromised enough."

German Foreign Ministry official Reinhard Silberberg said after the talks with Tsvangirai that Zimbabwe urgently needed to make a new start, both politically and economically.

He urged Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to play a constructive role in the negotiations.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has stayed in power using a combination of farm and business seizures to keep supporters happy and brute police and mob terror to silence critics.

The policies have reduced the one-time breadbasket of southern Africa to a mere shadow of its former thriving self.

Tsvangirai blamed Mugabe for a lack of foreign investment in the country.

"On the one hand he wants international support," he said. "On the other he wants to cling to power. He cannot have it both ways. You cannot expect us to clean up the mess if we are not given authority."

Germany announced it was donating another 500,000 euros (625,000 dollars) in humanitarian aid to help people overcome the effects of food shortages and lack of medicine.

The prime minister-designate visited France and EU headquarters in Brussels before traveling to Berlin.

From Germany, he flies to South Africa on Friday for a meeting of the Elders - group of leading activists and ex-world leaders that includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and former US president Jimmy Carter.


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