Zimbabwe PM: Don't recognize our 6 ambassadors

AP News
Posted: Oct 12, 2010 1:11 PM
Zimbabwe PM: Don't recognize our 6 ambassadors

More deep divisions emerged in Zimbabwe's shaky coalition Tuesday as the prime minister asked the United Nations, European Union and four nations not to recognize six ambassadors the president appointed without consulting him.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, despite his harshest criticism of President Robert Mugabe' role in the coalition so far, insists he won't be pulling out.

"I will not win every fight ... but I am committed to winning the war and win we shall," he said in a review of the coalition woes circulated by his party since the weekend.

"I urge my team at every level of government to serve the people ... not the self anointed who seek to exploit the country."

He said he took a "leap of faith" in signing the coalition deal nearly two years ago with longtime foe Mugabe and remained committed to seeing it through.

"I believe in sticking to my word," he said.

The government's power-sharing deal requires coalition partners to agree on all senior appointments. Tsvangirai's party said Tuesday the diplomatic postings were made "illegally and unconstitutionally" and should not be recognized.

Tsvangirai has asked Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and South Africa to reject the diplomatic credentials of incoming ambassadors.

In another blow to the struggling coalition in the southern African nation, Mugabe has unilaterally reappointed 10 provincial governors and five new judges, Tsvangirai's party said.

The party said Tsvangirai wrote to Mugabe urging him to "return the country to constitutional rule" under the February 2009 power sharing agreement brokered by regional leaders. Tsvangirai also informed Chief Justice Godfrey Chiyausiku that his group in the coalition did not accept as valid the posts of the five new judges.

It was unclear whether that meant the former opposition would not cooperate with Mugabe's appointees and their rulings or decisions.

In the coalition, Tsvangirai's colleagues have worked alongside Mugabe's allies though they have been stripped of some of their powers under the deal.

Tsvangirai controls about half the government ministries, excluding the top strategic ministries of defense and police. His minister in the key finance ministry has ended world record inflation and acute shortages of food, gasoline and other basic goods.

Tsvangirai expressed his dismay and "utter disgust" after Mugabe told him at their last regular meeting that he had reappointed his ZANU-PF party's 10 provincial governors.

According to the terms of the coalition constitution, Tsvangirai's party, which won the most votes in violence-ridden parliamentary elections in 2008, was slated to take over 5 of the governorships, Mugabe received four and a small former opposition splinter group got one.

Tsvangirai said Mugabe repeatedly vowed to regional mediators he never violated the nation's constitution.

"Sadly, he has done so not once, but time and time again," said Tsvangirai.

He said Zimbabwe faced a constitutional crisis and he would not "stand back any longer and just allow Mugabe and ZANU-PF to defy the law, flaunt the constitution and act as if they own this country."

He rejected "one man rule" and said his party would not recognize Mugabe appointees that include the long-disputed posts of the governor of the central bank and the chief law officer, and the attorney general, held by Mugabe loyalists.

Mugabe blames the standoff on targeted Western economic sanctions against him and his party elite and insists the coalition can make no further progress until they are lifted.

"This is rank madness, and utterly nonsensical," Tsvangirai said. "Mugabe and his colleagues brought these restrictive measures on themselves through the flagrant abuses of human rights and the economic disaster they inflicted" on Zimbabwe.