Mugabe turns back on power-sharing

Opposition ignored as another election looms

Robert Mugabe is to drop the pretence of power-sharing talks with the opposition in Zimbabwe and form a government without them this week. If he goes ahead, after gaining the backing of his ruling Zanu-PF party, it would end any immediate hope of outside help for the country, which is beset by a series of crises.

The defiant gesture comes shortly after he taunted neighbouring countries that they did not have the stomach to confront him, capping a week of increasingly wild statements from the self-styled liberator. He had told delegates to his party's conference on Friday that "Zimbabwe is mine", and accused Britain of wanting a war. Yesterday the 84-year-old closed the conference with no reference to the cholera epidemic, economic implosion or the abduction of opponents. Zimbabwe has now been without a legitimate government since March. The official death toll from cholera stands at more than 1,123, while inflation has moved into the sextillions and at least 41 opposition officials and rights activists have been abducted.

With an increasing number of international leaders calling on him to stand down, Mr Mugabe has sought to change the subject by railing against Western plots to topple his government. Attempts to implicate neighbouring Botswana in an alleged plan to provide military support to opposition forces were dismissed by the SADC regional bloc. He openly mocked the "courage" of neighbouring leaders, saying: "What would they come and do militarily here? All that they would come and really pose is a threat to our stability."

For months Mr Mugabe has tried to bully the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into accepting a deal in which he would retain the major ministries, including defence and home affairs, as well as control of the central reserve bank and the security services. The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, earlier warned the government to stop its intimidation campaign and release abductees, or the opposition would be forced to "suspend" power-sharing talks.

Now Mr Mugabe is signalling that he will rule without the opposition, disregarding the power-sharing deal he signed in mid-September. "We have waited for too long and our people are impatient and suffering," said a Zanu-PF official, speaking at the conference in Bindura, outside Harare. "With or without the MDC, the government will have to be formed."

There could even be fresh elections early in the new year, and Mr Mugabe warned his supporters to be ready to avoid the "disaster of March". Those elections saw Zanu-PF lose its parliamentary majority, while he finished a distant second to Mr Tsvangirai in the presidential vote. That setback was overturned at the end of June after a state-sponsored crackdown on the opposition saw thousands of MDC people beaten up and more than 150 murdered. Shortly before the run-off, the violence persuaded Mr Tsvangirai to withdraw from the ballot.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
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
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness