JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has asserted a claim to key disputed ministries, outraging the opposition and imperiling a fragile power-sharing agreement signed three weeks ago.
The state-owned Herald newspaper published a list Saturday that handed the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, the powerful ministries of defense, justice, foreign affairs and home affairs, which controls Zimbabwe's police. Those cabinet posts would essentially secure Mugabe's 28-year grip on power and make the recent deal meaningless.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, denounced the list as a "midnight ambush" by ZANU-PF and said no agreement on ministries had been reached. The opposition released a list depicting its own "general understanding" of the state of negotiations and showing justice, home affairs and foreign affairs under MDC control.
"It is a giant act of madness which puts the whole deal in jeopardy," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.
The ruling party, the MDC and a splinter opposition party have been squabbling over 31 cabinet slots. On Friday, the parties agreed to ask former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the power-sharing deal, to help.