The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says it has given up trying to negotiate with President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party to resolve the longstanding crisis in Harare's unity government, charging that the heads of the country's security services are in charge, not Mr. Mugabe.
MDC sources said the party believes the unity government is now entirely dysfunctional, so the new emphasis for the former opposition is to push hard for an election supervised by the Southern African Development Community based on a clear road map.
Ministers who attended Tuesday's cabinet meeting described it as tense.
Mr. Tsvangirai told supporters in Bulawayo on Sunday that rogue elements in the state security services have “created a war situation in the country which by its very nature subverts the constitutional order and undermines … civilian authority.”
Mr Tsvangirai added that the onus falls on SADC, Africa and the broader international community to ensure a free and fair election.
Police dismissed the remarks as a provocation of law enforcement.
South African President Jacob Zuma’s team of facilitators is due in Harare in early July to press negotiators for the three unity government parties to complete the election road map and defuse rising tensions among those parties.
Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the party is under siege by the police and other security services.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Mr. Mugabe is still very much in charge.
Rival M-D-C formation leader Welshman Ncube has made it clear he and Mr. Tsvangirai are on the same page regarding security service chiefs and their obligation to stay out of politics following recent comments by Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba to the effect that Mr. Tsvangirai is a pawn of the West and thus a security threat.
Ncube, minister of industry and commerce, told a rally in Lupane East in Matabeleland North Province on the weekend that the service chiefs should stop imposing rule by President Mugabe on the Zimbabwean people.
Spokesman Edwin Ndlovu of the Ncube M-D-C formation told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that service chiefs should be non-partisan civil servants.
In a related development, a Harare High Court justice discharged Energy Minister Elton Mangoma from defending himself against charges that he abused his office in ordering the purchase of fuel in January from a South African company without going to tender.
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said the state had failed to prove the charge beyond a doubt and criticized Mangoma's subordinates in the ministry who testified against him, saying they should have known the procedures for bypassing the tender procedure under the circumstances at the time when Zimbabwe was facing critical fuel shortages.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare High Court.