October 12, 2008 in Nation/World

Mugabe’s party holds on to key posts

Los Angeles Times

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has defied a fragile power-sharing deal with the opposition, giving all key Cabinet posts, including the crucial security ministries, to his own party.

The power grab took Zimbabwe by surprise Saturday, less than a month after the deal was signed. Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa, whose Movement for Democratic Change has called ruling party control of the police a deal-breaker, called it “a giant act of madness which puts the whole deal into jeopardy.”

Only the Finance Ministry, and the difficult task of cleaning up Zimbabwe’s economic chaos, remained undecided, according to the pro-Mugabe Herald newspaper, which published the details Saturday.

The move meant that Mugabe, 84, and his ZANU-PF party would retain their iron grip on the country after 28 years in power. It follows reports that top security chiefs told Mugabe in a recent meeting not to give control of the army, intelligence or police to the opposition.

ZANU-PF took 14 ministries, including defense, justice, information, foreign affairs and the powerful local government ministry. It also took mines – the key to the one remaining source of wealth in Zimbabwe, mainly diamonds and platinum – and land. Two opposition parties were given minor posts.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email