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Zimbabwe Opposition Rejects Mugabe's Unity Government

The Movement for Democratic Change said it will not join a unity government with President Robert Mugabe's ruling party before outstanding issues in the allocation of top positions is resolved. For VOA, Peta Thornycroft has this report.

The Movement for Democratic Change's national council met in Harare Friday to decide on whether or not to back its leader, prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, who told a regional summit early Monday that he cannot take part in a unity government.

Mr. Tsvangirai rejected a recommendation by a summit of the Southern African Development Community to take part in an inclusive government claiming the allocation of Cabinet posts was not equitable.

His national council has now backed his decision, according to MDC Vice President Thokozani Khupe.

She said that neither Mr. Mugabe nor ZANU-PF has the "legitimacy to form a government." She said the SADC resolution does not give Mr. Mugabe the right to form a government.

Since Mr. Tsvangirai's rejection of the SADC recommendation, ZANU-PF, which was deprived of its parliamentary majority in March elections by the MDC, says it wants Mr. Mugabe to go it alone and swear in a Cabinet.

Zimbabwe has been without a government for nine months.

Mr. Mugabe said he has invited the MDC to submit names for a new Cabinet.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki was endorsed by the SADC to continue mediating between ZANU-PF and the MDC to resolve the political and humanitarian crisis at a time when Zimbabwe is suffering an unprecedented food shortage.