Mugabe must back down, says rival

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, has refused to be pushed into a deal that would leave Robert Mugabe in effective control of the country. The man regarded by many as the president-elect said Mr Mugabe would have to cede power before any agreement on a government of national unity would be possible.

Claims from the Mugabe camp that it had divided the opposition appeared to be unfounded.

Mr Tsvangirai said his rival must back down or negotiations would collapse, a source close to the talks told The Independent. Mr Tsvangirai walked out of talks late on Tuesday night after South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediator, tried to push him into an agreement that would have made him prime minister in name alone, leaving executive power in the hands of President Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai, who won more votes than his rivals in a March election, is demanding executive powers be transferred to a prime ministerial position before he will sign up to any deal. He has come under intense pressure from three sides, as Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a smaller opposition faction, has joined Mr Mbeki and Mr Mugabe in pushing for the 84-year-old President to hold on to as much power as possible. The Mugabe regime is determined to retain control of the security services while leaving Mr Tsvangirai to sort out the devastated economy.

There is increasing anger in the impoverished nation over the role of Mr Mutambara, who has positioned himself closer to the Mugabe camp in a bid to get a government role despite his lack of popular support. He failed to win a seat at the election and his faction has only 10 MPs. While he stopped short of saying he had signed up to the Mugabe plan, yesterday he called on Mr Tsvangirai to make concessions for the good of the country.

A senior official in Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said there was a major disagreement on the section of the draft agreement – drawn up with the South Africans – dealing with the powers of the prime minister to appoint, chair and run cabinet issues as executive head of government. The wording of that section would have reduced the post of premier to that of ceremonial status, preserving Mr Mugabe's enormous power.

The source said Mr Tsvangirai raised serious objections but his rival would not concede and denied that the talks had collapsed, saying the opposition leader would return to the negotiations when the Mugabe camp changed its position.

"They have only collapsed in the sense that there won't be a deal before Mbeki leaves as originally planned," said the source.

"They have only collapsed in the sense that the deadline for a deal has not been met. But they have not collapsed forever because there is still room for more dialogue and a consensus can still be reached if Mugabe reconsiders his stance. The ball is in his court. There is no way we can budge on this fundamental issue [configuration of powers]."

Attempts by Mr Mbeki yesterday to spin the MDC leader's departure as a period of consultation with his party was denied. The MDC maintains that Mr Mugabe can remain as head of state only if he concedes actual power.

Any deal is supposed to be endorsed by all three parties but this does not preclude Mr Mugabe and Mr Mutambara from doing their a separate deal outside the current mediation. Mr Mutambara is understood to be pushing for a position of deputy prime minister in a new government, but if he abandons the main opposition leader to land the job he is likely to be reviled by much of the country.

Any such agreement would also hand a slim parliamentary majority to Mr Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party but it would do nothing to deliver the massive external aid needed to refloat the economy. Mr Tsvangirai's main strength is his clear backing from the international donor community.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Arts and Entertainment
Ella Henderson's first studio album has gone straight to the top of the charts
music
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

Life and Style
fashion
News
Paul Nuttall, left, is seen as one of Ukip's key weapons in selling the party to the North of England
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
Arts and Entertainment
artKaren Wright tours the fair and wishes she had £11m to spare
News
i100
Life and Style
Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh been invited to take part in Women Fashion Power, a new exhibition that celebrates the way women's fashion has changed in relation to their growing power and equality over the past 150 years
fashionKirsty and Camila swap secrets about how to dress for success
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
booksNew book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Year 5/6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Permanent Year 6 TeacherThe job:This...

KS1 & KS2 Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: KS1+KS2 Teachers required ASAP for l...

Year 2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 2 Teacher The position is to wo...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past