'war against people'

Zimbabwe's two opposition factions said yesterday they would not take part in a government formed by President Robert Mugabe before power-sharing talks had been concluded.

Zimbabwe's two opposition factions said yesterday they would not take part in a government formed by President Robert Mugabe before power-sharing talks had been concluded.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) described Mugabe's intention to form a government regardless of the opposition, as "a declaration of war against the people".

"If he announces the new cabinet it would be a declaration of war against the people. You can't have a cabinet without a mandate," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

Mugabe told the Herald yesterday that he would form a new government "soon" even without a resolution to currently stalled power-sharing talks with the MDC.

The spokesman for the smaller MDC faction, Edwin Mushoriwa, said: "We are not going to be part of Mugabe's government. We are looking forward to the conclusion of the dialogue when Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai form a transitional government."

The parties were responding to Mugabe's announcement that a new government would be set up.

Mugabe is about to form a new government on his own, effectively breaking off talks with his opponents, state media reported yesterday.

"We shall soon be setting up a government," the newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying. "The MDC does not want to come in apparently."

He said he would appoint cabinet ministers who would be "managers", describing his last cabinet as "the worst in history".

Mugabe's remarks came shortly after he was heckled and booed by MDC MPs during his official speech at the opening of parliament. The move would mean that Mugabe would appoint ministers from his own party, which is in the minority in parliament.

Until now, he and his Zanu-PF party had committed themselves to continue with power-sharing talks with the MDC, brokered by President Thabo Mbeki.

The discussions have been stalled for two weeks after Tsvangirai baulked at a draft agreement which proposes him as prime minister and Mugabe as executive president. The MDC rejected this, saying it gave Mugabe far more powers than Tsvangirai. - Sapa-dpa

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