Friday, December 5, 2008

Mugabe hints at early polls

NATION Correspondent

In Summary
President Mugabe urges supporters to prepare for early elections.
MDC wants any election sponsored and supervised by the international community.
Zimbabwe President Mugabe has urged his supporters to prepare for early elections.

His latest move is yet another sign that the faltering power sharing agreement between his ruling Zanu PF and the opposition is headed for collapse.
Mr Mugabe whose 28 year-old hold on power was this week shaken by a revolt by disgruntled soldiers, issued an umpteenth ultimatum to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to join a unity government dominated by Zanu PF or he would go it alone.
As Zimbabwe's economic meltdown intensifies and a cholera epidemic that has so far claimed the lives of over 500 people spreads, Zanu PF and the MDC continue to haggle over the distribution of cabinet posts in the unity government.
"We agreed to give them 13 ministries while we share the Ministry of Home Affairs but if the arrangement fails to work in the next one-and-a half to two years, then we would go for elections," Mr Mugabe told supporters.
"The MDC should say no if they do not want to be part of the inclusive government."
While, it is not the first time that the 84 year-old president has threatened to go it alone, the hint of an early election signaled a major climb down.
The ruling party has insisted that Mr Mugabe won a free and fair election on June 27 and must see out his five-year term.
The main MDC whose leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of the March elections but was forced to pull out of the run off poll by state sponsored violence has demanded fresh elections if the September 15 power sharing agreement does not work.
The opposition has won support from neighbouring Botswana, which has openly called for fresh elections to resolve the political impasse in Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF will hold its annual conference beginning Wednesday and the power sharing agreement with the MDC will be one of the major items under discussion.
Analysts say although fresh elections will be ideal to address Mr Mugabe's problem of illegitimacy, the impoverished country might not be able to afford another poll.
The MDC wants any election sponsored and supervised by the international community.

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