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
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
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
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?