Harare — PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has tightened his grip on power ahead of the watershed election next year by assigning some crucial Acts directly under the purview of his office.

He did this without consulting his coalition partners Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube.

The country is set to go to the polls next year to bring to an end the shaky inclusive government that has run its course despite bringing a modicum of economic stability.

In a Statutory Instrument gazetted on Friday, Mugabe put nine pieces of legislation under the Office of the President and Cabinet without the knowledge of coalition partners. Mugabe's political adversaries yesterday said the move was designed to tighten the 88-year-old leader's grip on power.

The Acts now directly under Mugabe are the Commission of Inquiry Act, Emergency Powers Act, Honours and Awards Act, Interception of Communication Act, Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, Procurement Act, Radiation Protection Act, Research Act and the Zimbabwe National Security Council Act.

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