Zimbabwe's opposition MDC will not join a unity government with President Robert Mugabe until all issues in power-sharing talks are resolved, a party official said on Friday after a meeting to decide whether to take part.
The party also said it had uncovered a plot to assassinate its leaders, further increasing chances that deadlocked negotiations will collapse.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of trying to take control of the most powerful ministries and freeze out his party in violation of the September 15 agreement seen as the best hope of rescuing Zimbabwe's wrecked economy.
MDC Vice President Thokozani Khupe told reporters that a meeting of the party's top leadership had resolved not to join a government until all outstanding issues in the talks were concluded. The constitution also had to been changed to enact a unity government and to provide for the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister, she said.
"Neither Robert Mugabe nor ZANU-PF has the legitimacy to form a government," Khupe said, confirming an earlier Reuters report. She said the MDC would campaign against any attempt by Mugabe to form a government now.
The MDC decision came after a meeting of the party's executive on Friday to decide on whether to join a government with Mugabe's ZANU-PF under a power-sharing deal that is in danger of crumbling.
Khupe did not expand on the party's allegations of an assassination plot.
"The (MDC) national council notes with concern...the crafting of an assassination plot intended to eliminate the leadership of the MDC," she said.
Although Tsvangirai flatly rejected a resolution in a summit of regional leaders last Sunday calling for the two sides to share control of the Home Affairs ministry — the main sticking point — a minority of the MDC executive had appeared to favor joining the government.
Khupe said the party implored the regional Southern African Development Community and the continental body, the African Union, to step in and take action to ensure the Zimbabwean crisis is settled.
SADC countries have failed to persuade Zimbabwe's parties, including a breakaway MDC faction, to bury their differences and move on to the daunting task of easing an economic crisis.