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Zimbabwe opposition leader threatens to quit govt

world Updated: Oct 12, 2008 21:26 IST

AP
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Zimbabwe's opposition leader threatened today to pull out of a national unity government if President Robert Mugabe refuses to cede control of key ministries.

Morgan Tsvangirai slammed an official government list published yesterday that gave all the main ministries, including defence, home and foreign affairs, justice, mining and land to Mugabe's party.

It allocated only lesser ministries to the Movement for Democratic Change, which won a slight parliamentary majority in elections earlier this year.

"An idiot wouldn't accept that," Tsvangirai told a rally of 15,000 supporters. "That is not power sharing, it is power grabbing."

"Robert Mugabe, stop that because if you don't, we have no right to be part of such an arrangement (government)," Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai won the first round of presidential elections in March but refused to take part in a runoff because of widespread violence against his supporters.

A power-sharing agreement signed September 15 gave Tsvangirai the post of Prime Minister but talks have since deadlocked over the allocation of Cabinet seats.

Tsvangirai said that if Mugabe's ZANU-PF party retained the defence portfolio, which is in charge of the armed forces, then the Movement for Democratic Change must be given Home Affairs, which is responsible for the police.

"This is not negotiable," said Tsvangirai, whose supporters have suffered from police brutality.

He said he would continue to negotiate with good faith when Mediator Thabo Mbeki arrived tomorrow.