Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zimbabwe Cabinet Appointments Held Up As Mugabe Consults His Party

The power-sharing government set Monday by Zimbabwe's main political parties seems unlikely to take shape as fast as many Zimbabweans would like it to.

President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday put off a crucial meeting with Movement for Democratic Change founder Morgan Tsvangirai and rival MDC leader Arthur Mutambara so he could patch up objections to the agreement from within his ZANU-PF party.

The meeting between him and the two leaders of the former opposition party had been scheduled so they could discuss the allocation of cabinet posts among the three parties to the power-sharing agreement - ZANU-PF, the MDC formation led by Tsvangirai and the rival MDC formation headed by Arthur Mutambara.

Sources said that meeting would be held Wednesday.

ZANU-PF sources said the agreement threatens to tear the party apart - some members argue that Mr. Mugabe and the ZANU-PF negotiating team made too many concessions to the MDC.

Those sources said Mr. Mugabe met the ZANU-PF politiburo Tuesday to try to convince its members to throw their full support behind the deal. He was to meet ZANU-PF’s central committee Wednesday and its national consultative assembly on Thursday.

Such consultations have stalled discussions of the composition of the government that is to be headed by President Mugabe and led by Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Under the agreement, Mr. Mugabe is empowered to name a prime minister, his deputies and the cabinet even before the constitution has been amended. Experts told VOA that South African President Thabo Mbeki, mediator in the power-sharing talks, inserted such a provision because it takes at least 60 days to change the constitution.

ZANU-PF Chief Whip Joram Gumbo told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the politiburo met, but denied reports the party is divided.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation confirmed that there has been a delay in setting up the government.

Spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa of the Mutambara MDC formation told reporter Zulu that a one-day holdup is not a matter for concern.

All three parties dismissed a document circulating on the Internet purporting to give the names of ZANU-PF and MDC ministerial appointments.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...