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Tsvangirai proposes deal with Mugabe

Published 17/08/2008

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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