Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 17:02 UK

Tsvangirai in threat to quit deal

Robert Mugabe (L) and Morgan Tsvangirai - 15/09/2008
The two sides differ over cabinet positions

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has threatened to pull out of power sharing with President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC leader accused Mr Mugabe of trying to secure all key ministry posts for his ruling Zanu-PF party.

Mr Tsvangirai told a rally in Harare that if Zanu-PF wanted the key ministry of defence, the MDC must have home affairs, which controls the police.

The rivals have been deadlocked since agreeing to share power a month ago.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, on Monday in an attempt to break the impasse over the appointment of cabinet posts.

The people have suffered. But if it means suffering the more in order for them to get what is at stake, then so be it
Morgan Tsvangirai

AFP news agency quoted Mr Tsvangirai as telling the rally in Harare on Sunday: "If they [Zanu-PF] do it that way, we have no right to be part of such an arrangement.

"The people have suffered. But if it means suffering the more in order for them to get what is at stake, then so be it.

"We will renegotiate until an agreement is reached but that does not mean we will compromise for the sake of it."

Mr Tsvangirai's warning follows news on Saturday that Mr Mugabe had allocated key ministries to his own party - in violation of the deal.

A spokesman for Zanu-PF said it would take 14 ministries, while 13 would be allocated to the MDC and another three posts would go to a splinter faction of the opposition.

'Arrogant wish list'

But an MDC spokesman said this was "Zanu-PF's arrogant wish list" and warned it was putting the deal in jeopardy.

Under the existing agreement Mr Mugabe remains president while Mr Tsvangirai becomes prime minister.

Zanu-PF: 14 ministries including:
Foreign affairs
Local government
Main MDC: 13 ministries including:
Constitutional and parliamentary affairs
Economic planning and investment promotion
Arts and culture
Science and technology development
MDC (Mutambara): three including:
Industry and commerce
Source: Government gazette

The continuing political impasse is not thought to have helped ease the country's crippling economic crisis.

On Thursday, it was announced that Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate had soared to 231,000,000%.

Meanwhile, the UN says it needs $140m (82m) for food aid in Zimbabwe over the next six months.

The current stalemate stems from disputed elections in March this year when Mr Tsvangirai gained more votes than Mr Mugabe, but not enough for outright victory.

Mr Tsvangirai then pulled out of a run-off vote in June, accusing Zanu-PF militia and the army of organising attacks on MDC supporters which left some 200 people dead.

Critics of Mr Mugabe say he triggered the economic crisis when he began seizing white-owned farms for land redistribution ahead of parliamentary elections in 2000.

But Mr Mugabe blames Western sanctions, which target him and his chief supporters, for wrecking Zimbabwe's economy.

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