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Zimbabwe's MDC Seeks Regional Intervention In Power-Sharing Impasse


Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change on Monday called for the Southern African Development Community to intervene to break an impasse with the long-ruling ZANU-PF party over the allocation of ministries in a proposed national unity government.

Observers are expressing concern that the deadlock could undo the power-sharing compact signed September 15 by President Robert Mugabe, MDC founder and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, and rival MDC leader Arthur Mutambara.

MDC sources dismissed state media reports saying negotiations were continuing Monday, saying that no meetings had been scheduled.

Mr. Mugabe met with Tsvangirai and Mutambara on Saturday for the third time since signing the deal, but the three leaders again failed to achieve a breakthrough.

After that meeting, Mugabe spokesman George Charamba issued a statement saying that the contentious portfolios had been narrowed down to just two. On Monday the state-controlled Herald newspaper said negotiations had been scheduled for Monday afternoon aimed at finding a compromise on control of the Home Affairs and Finance ministries.

But spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said no such meetings were planned and that more than two ministries remained the subject of discord.

Chamisa told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the parties to the power-sharing accord also have yet to agree on provincial governorships.

VOA was unable to reach ZANU-PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa or his fellow negotiator Nicholas Goche for comment on the talks

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the Sept. 15 accord, has said he is willing to take a role in the talks again, but ZANU-PF officials have denied that there is an impasse and said there is no need for the mediator to involve himself.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said the cabinet deadlock has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation in the country, and that by failing to reach agreement, both parties have failed to come to the aid of an increasingly desperate population.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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