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Opposition may pull out after Mugabe power ploy

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's opposition leader threatened Sunday to pull out of a national unity government if President Robert Mugabe refuses to cede control of key ministries.

Morgan Tsvangirai slammed an official government list published Saturday that gave all the main ministries, including defense, home and foreign affairs, justice, mining and land to Mugabe's party. It allocated only lesser ministries to the Movement for Democratic Change, which won a slight parliamentary majority in elections earlier this year.

"An idiot wouldn't accept that," Tsvangirai told a rally of 15,000 supporters. "That is not power sharing, it is power grabbing."

Tsvangirai won the first round of presidential elections in March but refused to take part in a runoff because of widespread violence against his supporters. A power-sharing agreement signed Sept. 15 gave Tsvangirai the post of prime minister, but talks have since deadlocked over the allocation of Cabinet seats.

Tsvangirai said that if Mugabe's ZANU-PF party retained the defense portfolio, which is in charge of the armed forces, then the Movement for Democratic Change must be given Home Affairs, which is responsible for the police.

"This is not negotiable," said Tsvangirai, whose supporters have suffered from police brutality.

He said he would continue to negotiate in good faith when mediator Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's former president, arrives today. But Mbeki's authority has diminished since his own party ousted him from office last month.

Under the power-sharing agreement, the opposition gets 16 Cabinet seats and Mugabe's party gets 15, reflecting official results of parliamentary elections held in March.

Opposition may pull out after Mugabe power ploy 10/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:42pm]

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