Tsvangirai vows he will not sign “bad deal”
September 8, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
Gweru – MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he will not bow to local or international pressure applied on him to sign a controversial power sharing deal with his bitter rival, President Robert Mugabe.
The opposition leader says the document, a culmination of intense talks with Zanu-PF under SADC, does not reflect the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe.
The document only gives him the title of ceremonial Prime Minister while Mugabe’s executive powers remain intact.
Should the arrangement see the light of day, it would see Tsvangirai spearheading government’s economic recovery programme while Mugabe retains control of the country’s crucial security arms.
But Tsvangirai is demanding an executive post as Prime Minister with Mugabe becoming ceremonial President.
This, he says, is underpinned by the March 29 election outcome in which he beat Mugabe although he failed to secure the requisite number that would have allowed him to automatically assume the presidency.
“No half measures,” Tsvangirai said to an estimated 10 000 crowd that thronged the MDC’s commemoration of its ninth anniversary at Mkoba Stadium, Gweru.
“We would rather have no deal than to have a bad deal. If Mugabe does not want separation between head of state and head of government with full authority, let him stay there.”
Tsvangirai says the MDC should instead be the one dictating terms on the strength of the popular vote registered during the last credible election in March.
Not to be outdone, President Mugabe last week threatened he would go ahead and appoint cabinet with or without the input of Tsvangirai.
The Zimbabwean leader last week ignominiously revoked an “ultimatum” he had given to his rival, which entailed either Tsvangirai plays ball or else Mugabe unilaterally appoints cabinet.
Tsvangirai scoffed at the threats.
“You (Mugabe) will never find any of this one (signature) until you start to accept what the people want,” he said, “Its very simple, you are head of state, and I am head of government.”
The MDC leader vows no amount of threats by the 84 year old leader will make him change his mind.
He says he would not be used to clean up the economic mess brought by Mugabe’s disastrous populist policies.
“You can not say after having messed up, you then call Tsvangirai to clean up your mess only to discard him thereafter,” he said.
The elusive pact by the two political protagonists is widely viewed as the first real step in a decade aimed at reversing Zimbabwe’s economic recession.
Tsvangirai maintains he would have sold out if he were to blindly append his signature to the document at the behest of the international community and some Zimbabweans who are increasingly becoming agitated by his apparent inflexibility.
“Don’t force us, because we will have to live with the agreement,” Tsvangirai said. “And please this is not merely a Morgan Tsvangirai signature.
“This is the signature for food, for jobs, and for prosperity and justice for the people of Zimbabwe.
“The biggest problem is that people are in fact applying pressure on the MDC to sign instead of directing their pressure to Mugabe. He is the one holding the reins of power.” Tsvangirai said.
Not even South African President Thabo Mbeki’s repeated visits to Zimbabwe, he said, would compel him into signing the agreement.
Mbeki is the chief mediator in the talks and has since intensified pressure on the MDC leader to sign. He argues the agreement is the best in the prevailing situation.
The South African leader is expected in Harare today ostensibly to revive the faltering talks.
If the situation remained unresolved, Tsvangirai proposed the matter should be referred back to the electorate. The MDC leader challenged his rival to call for fresh elections supervised by the international community and see who comes out tops.
Meanwhile, the MDC leader says deaths are imminent within the next two to three weeks if aid agencies are not allowed to operate at full throttle.
Government last week lifted a controversial two month ban on aids agencies which it had accused of clandestinely campaigning for the opposition.
The Zimbabwe Times