MDC rejects Elders call to join unity government despite misgivings

Other News Materials 24 November 2008 21:24 (UTC +04:00)

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change on Monday rejected suggestions by Nelson Mandela's Elders that it should form a unity government with President Robert Mugabe - and work through the kinks later, dpa reported.

"We understand the direness and precariousness of the situation but a longer gestation period (for the unity government) makes more sense than a short period that will result in abortion," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

Chamisa was reacting to a suggestion by former US president Jimmy Carter that, once a constitutional amendment that sets out the powers of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister is agreed upon, the party should join Mugabe in a power-sharing government and push for further change in parliament.

Carter was addressing a media conference in Johannesburg along with former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan and Mozambican social activist, Graca Machel. The three are members of The Elders - a brains trust launched by anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela in 2007.

On Tuesday, Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the MDC are due to resume power- sharing talks in South Africa under ex-South African president Thabo Mbeki's mediation.

"It's no use for us just say 'let there be a government'," Chamisa said. "The deal (going into a government with Zanu-PF under the present arrangements) makes us accessories, and you cannot have performance from an accessory. It's very dangerous."

The MDC is shying away from joining Mugabe in a government of his proposing. Mugabe is demanding, among other things, that Zanu-PF and the MDC share control of the police, despite his party retaining sole control of the army.