Mugabe takes generals' advice and abandons deal

Robert Mugabe has abandoned a negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean crisis at the behest of the generals who prop him up, sources have told
The Independent.

The embattled President, 84, has set himself on a collision course with the opposition and international community after declaring he will open parliament next Tuesday despite his failure to agree a power-sharing deal. Zimbabwe's military chiefs, led by Constantine Chiwengwa, the head of the army, believe Mr Mugabe has already offered to cede "too much power" to the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a deal now on the table, which Mr Tsvangirai has refused to sign.

Other senior figures in Mr Mugabe's inner circle, including the leader of the feared war veterans' militia, have demanded that the President makes no further concessions to Mr Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change, even it means the dialogue collapses completely.

Instead, they are pushing Mr Mugabe to dissolve parliament shortly after it resumes sitting next week. He could then order fresh elections in which the ruling Zanu-PF party could overturn the MDC's narrow majority through a campaign of terror similar to that deployed between the first and second round of presidential voting.

It is unlikely that Mr Mugabe would resort to that drastic a step. The MDC instead fears a campaign of targeted assassinations of its MPs, several of whom are said to be in hiding. This would force by-elections which the Zanu-PF regime would win through violence to regain Mr Mugabe's majority.

The ruling party controls 99 seats, Mr Tsvangirai 100, while a smaller faction of the MDC, led by the erratic Arthur Mutambara, controls 10. The remaining seat is held by an independent. Mr Mugabe only needs to regain seven seats to control parliament. He is already trying to woo opposition MPs with bribes.

In the deal now on offer, Mr Mugabe would retain executive control of the security services, while Mr Tsvangirai would be handed the task of repairing the economy and facing the humanitarian disaster created by the current regime.

"If President Mugabe goes ahead to convene parliament and appoint a new cabinet, it means he is proceeding to violate the conditions of the [memorandum of understanding] which means he may have abandoned the basis for the talks. But we don't know what his intentions are," Mr Tsvangirai said in Nairobi yesterday. "A violation of the MOU will have to be dealt with by the mediator," he added.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, the official mediator, also appears to have given up on a settlement. Instead, he has joined the Mugabe camp in trying to bully the opposition into accepting the deal.

The MDC leader told The Independent that a situation in which the prime minister was asked to take responsibility for certain ministries while other ministers reported directly to the president was untenable.

He described as "non-negotiable" his position that he should become executive head of government in charge of appointing the cabinet, chairing it and formulating and implementing government policy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

Recruitment Genius: Fundraising Manager / Income Generation Coach

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project