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Zimbabwean Parties Still Arguing Over Cabinet Posts


The parties to Zimbabwe's power sharing agreement have failed to agree on the allocation of cabinet posts. Tendai Maphosa reports for VOA from Harare that the opposition says the only option is intervention by the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

Three weeks after they sealed a power sharing deal, Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, appear nowhere near agreement on the allocation of key cabinet posts. Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa tells VOA that after a meeting Tuesday, the parties are further apart now than when they started talking.

"If we were centimeters apart, now we are meters apart," Chamisa said, "the gap is increasing by the day, the misunderstanding seems to have grown even sharper. I don't know how we are going to solve this but certainly the situation is that we'll have to refer this to SADC and the AU to resolve the current impasse because there is nothing other than mediation that is going to help the situation."

Government media has repeatedly claimed the parties have agreed on all but two ministries: home affairs and finance. But Chamisa dismisses that saying there is no agreement on any of 10 key ministries.

"To say that we are left with two ministries is actually being untruthful," Chamisa noted, "and obviously Zanu-PF have chosen propaganda, misinformation to mislead the world so that people may think that things are actually moving when there is no progress at all."

In what seems to be degenerating into a war of claim and counter-claim one of Zanu-PF's negotiators, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, has accused the Movement for Democratic Change of endangering the power-sharing talks. He told Reuters news agency that the MDC is prejudicing talks by trying to negotiate in public. The report says he also rejected opposition calls for mediation in the stalled process, saying there was no need.

Under the terms of the power sharing agreement signed on September 15 Zanu-PF gets 15 of the 31 cabinet posts agreed on. The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai gets 13 and with the remaining three going to a smaller faction of the MDC.

But despite the differences, MDC's Nelson Chamisa insists his party is still fully committed to the deal. All his party wants, he says, is an equal distribution of key ministries, which would result in what he calls a partnership of equals.

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