Zimbabwe opposition leader returns home to face dilemma
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's The main opposition leader returned home yesterday to face a dilemma: participate as a junior partner in a lopsided government of national unity, or let President Robert Mugabe regain total control.
Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change said he will not be bullied into an agreement at a meeting tomorrow with Mugabe and the presidents of South Africa, Mozambique, and regional mediator Thabo Mbeki.
There is concern that the longstanding political deadlock is exacerbating the country's economic meltdown. In a visit, the head of the UN children's agency said the 2,200 deaths from cholera were only a small example of the humanitarian crisis.
"Over half the population is receiving food aid, health centers have closed, and when the school term starts there is no guarantee that there will be enough teachers," said UNICEF head Ann Veneman.
Tsvangirai flew into Harare after two months abroad, much of it in Botswana. He was scheduled to talk with his party on whether it should pull out of the power-sharing agreement that was reached but never implemented.
Despite the accord, Mugabe's party has grabbed nearly all the key ministries, appointed provincial leaders and reappointed the
"I will not be bulldozed into joining this government, which does not reflect the interests of the people," Tsvangirai said in brief remarks at the airport. "I'm not going to betray them."
But he said he was still committed to the power-sharing agreement. "I hope that we find a political solution to save this country from total collapse."
Mugabe has warned that he will press ahead if Tsvangirai will not come on board.
Tsvangirai won the first round of presidential elections in March but pulled out of the runoff vote because of violence against his supporters. Under the accord, he would be prime minister, with Mugabe as president.
The current allocation of Cabinet seats gives Mugabe's party control of nearly all the major ministries. The Movement for Democratic Change is holding out for the Home Affairs Ministry, saying it's the only way to rein in the police, which are accused of some of the worst violence and a wave of abductions of opposition supporters.