Tsvangirai proposes deal with Mugabe
Published 17/08/2008 | 07:47
Zimbabwe's opposition chief wants to be a powerful prime minister, but would
leave the presidency - and command of the military - to Robert Mugabe to end his
country's protracted political crisis.
Morgan Tsvangirai outlined his proposal for resolving the contentious issue of
who would lead any unity government in a speech to regional Cabinet ministers on
the eve of a Southern African Development Community summit.
The summit opened with Mr Tsvangirai sitting in a prominent position on the
floor, and Mr Mugabe at the head table with other presidents.
Mr Tsvangirai's proposal, which he said his Movement for Democratic Change has
presented in deadlocked negotiations with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, would mean a
major curbing of the powers Mr Mugabe has wielded since the country gained
independence in 1980.
But it also would leave Mr Tsvangirai working closely with a leader he has
reviled as a brutal dictator. And after months of attacks on opposition
supporters blamed on soldiers and police, the prospect of Mr Mugabe remaining
commander in chief was worrisome.
Elphas Mukonoweshuro, Mr Tsvangirai's foreign policy adviser, acknowledged in
an interview Saturday there was ``a possibility of abuse,'' but said regional
leaders who were expected to endorse a deal could keep a check on Mr Mugabe.
The opposition may have little choice. Top military leaders have said publicly
they would not recognise Mr Tsvangirai's authority.