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‘Don’t be paranoid about Mugabe’ -Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe urgently needs Western help to get back on its feet, says the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister-designate of Zimbabwe’s incoming transitional Government, urged the West not to withhold desperately needed funds because of paranoia about President Mugabe’s presence in the new administration.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Times, he said: “One has to understand we have entered into this deal with the object of transforming this country. Mugabe may appear as an aberration to the West, but he has entered into an agreement with us.

“They should have belief and faith with us, instead of being paranoid with Mugabe.”

Barely a day after he signed the power-sharing agreement between the 84-year-old Mugabe and the leader of a lesser faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, there was still evidence of a celebration held at Mr Tsvangirai’s modest suburban home. Empty beer and soft-drink bottles were stacked in crates. But a reminder of the country’s dire economic plight and crumbling infrastructure came during the interview, when the water supplies ran dry.

The new Government’s business was due to start on Monday, when the three groups were supposed to divide ministerial portfolios among themselves, with 15 to Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) and 16 shared between the two MDC factions. However, talks stalled prematurely, amid an apparent dispute among Zanu (PF) members over who would remain in government.

“It appears to have been delayed by Mugabe having to attend to his own party,” Mr Tsvangirai said. “Hopefully tomorrow.”

Mr Tsvangirai would not discuss the allocation of ministries, but the MDC is understood to be prepared to leave Zanu (PF) in control of the Defence Ministry – thereby keeping the generals who have supported Mr Mugabe on side. The MDC is determined to run the Home Affairs Ministry, including the police.

Mr Tsvangirai dismissed suggestions that Mr Mugabe would attempt to reverse the agreement and restore himself to exclusive power. He also pledged to guard against a return to the bloody campaign of violence unleashed before presidential run-off elections in June when more than 120 people were murdered by state-directed forces. “It was the darkest period in our history that the Army and other paramilitary militias were unleashed against unarmed civilians,” he said. “It can never be allowed to happen again.

“I don’t think it is possible. We want to make sure there is the rule of law, and no impunity from the law. All I can tell you is that I am confident that given the agreement we have signed, we are all committed to ensuring security of persons, and that there is no violence against the people.”

-CNN

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