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Zimbabwe PM-Designate Tsvangirai to Attend Monday Negotiations

Zimbabwe's prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai says he will attend a meeting of regional leaders in Harare Monday after he boycotted the last session a week ago because he had no passport to travel to Swaziland. Peta Thornycroft reports that Mr. Tsvangirai will attend a last ditch regional meeting which will try and remove a deadlock on filling top cabinet positions in any new government of national unity.

Morgan Tsvangirai still has no passport but will not need one for the next regional meeting because it will take place in Harare.

A Movement for Democratic Change spokesman said he is attending even though many conditions agreed to in the power sharing agreement signed on September 15 have been broken by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said pro-democracy activists continue to be arrested and harassed, in particular leading figures from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise organization. Three of them were arrested earlier this week at a peaceful protest outside government offices.

One, Jenni Williams, remains in detention in Bulawayo.

Chamisa also pointed to the state-controlled mass media, which runs the only two daily newspapers and the one television and four radio stations. The state media carries daily reports hostile to the MDC.

Having been denied a passport since June, Mr. Tsvangirai last weekend refused to attend a meeting called by the Southern African Development Community, SADC, which is mediating a settlement of Zimbabwe's ever deepening political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

Now he has said he will attend another SADC session in Harare, at which leaders from Mozambique, Angola. Swaziland and the Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to attend.

The SADC mediation, which began last year, and ended in failure eight months later, restarted after Zimbabwe's elections in March in which the MDC narrowly beat ZANU-PF in the parliamentary elections and Mr. Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential poll from Mr. Mugabe.

Heading the team is former South African president Thabo Mbeki who has continued to facilitate despite fears that the power-sharing agreement is unlikely to succeed.

The present deadlock is about allocation of cabinet positions. ZANU-PF wants all the security posts, such as defense, the police and security ministries with Mr Tsvangirai, so far, being allocated the social service positions. Mr. Tsvangirai wants the home affairs ministry which controls the police.

Some of his lieutenants, such as MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti want 10 ministries re negotiated including local government, information and foreign affairs.

Most of Zimbabwe's population is hungry and at least two million have been identified by the United Nations as in need of immediate food aid. Non governmental organizations say they are struggling to get around official red tape and begin emergency feeding programs.