Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Friday vowed to resist pressure from fellow African leaders to resolve tensions in his power-sharing government with Morgan Tsvangirai. ”The MDC thinks SADC or the AU can prescribe to us how we run our things,” Mugabe was quoted as saying by the state-run New Ziana news agency at a meeting of his party’s central committee. ”We will not brook any dictation from any source. We are a sovereign country. Even our neighbours cannot dictate to us. We will resist that.” Mugabe’s response came after an unusually strong rebuke from regional leaders criticising slow pace on the power-sharing deal with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai and demanding an end to political violence.
The 87-year-old said President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, which brokered the Southern African Development Community (SADC) backed unity deal with Tsvangirai as prime minister, should not dictate what should happen in Zimbabwe. ”The facilitator is the facilitator and must facilitate dialogue,” Mugabe was quoted as saying. ”He cannot prescribe anything. We prescribe what we should do in accordance with our laws and our agreement.” Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of cracking down on his supporters ahead of new elections expected later this year.
The presidents of South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia did not mention either rival by name but echoed concerns raised by Tsvangirai in a statement issued after the SADC’s security body met in Zambia. ”The summit noted with grave concern the polarisation of the political environment as characterized by, inter alia, resurgence of violence, arrest and intimidation in Zimbabwe,” they said in the communique. ”There must be an immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of the GPA” (unity pact).
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed the unlikely unity government in February 2009 to end a political and economic crisis after disputed 2008 elections. While the deal succeeded in halting the economy’s tailspin, mainly by ditching the local currency, the rivals have repeatedly locked horns over implementing it. Both leaders have said they are ready for elections that would end the transitional government.
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