4 Sep 2008

Mugabe to form cabinet if MDC doesn't sign deal

6:53 pm on 4 September 2008

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says he will go ahead and form a cabinet if opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai does not sign a power-sharing deal on Thursday, state media reported.

"We are a government and we are a government that was empowered by elections. So we should form a cabinet. We will not allow a situation where we will not have a cabinet forever," the state-run Herald newspaper quoted Mr Mugabe as saying.

"If after tomorrow (Thursday) Tsvangirai does not want to sign we will certainly put together a cabinet. We feel frozen at the moment."

Mr Mugabe was speaking to reporters in Lusaka on Wednesday on his return home after attending the funeral of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, the newspaper said.

State radio said South African President Thabo Mbeki would arrive in Zimbabwe on Thursday to continue mediation efforts to end a post-election political crisis that has worsened the country's economic decline.

It said he would meet both Mr Tsvangirai's main Movement for Democratic Change and the MDC's breakaway faction.

In an interview with South Africa's Talk Radio 702 broadcast on Wednesday, Mr Tsvangirai said the talks had broken down and were unlikely to resume soon.

The negotiations have stalled over how executive power should be shared by Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader beat Mr Mugabe in an election on 29 March but fell short of enough votes to avoid a run-off vote, which was won by Mr Mugabe unopposed after Mr Tsvangirai pulled out citing violence and intimidation against his supporters.