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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Keeping Rival Makoni At Arm's Length, For Now

The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai and aides for rival presidential candidate Simba Makoni have dismissed press reports they will meet Sunday to discuss a possible alliance.

The Independent, a Harare weekly, said Makoni aides have been in talks with senior officials of the Tsvangirai opposition grouping as to a deal in which Tsvangirai would drop out of the presidential race and back Makoni. MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara has already lined up behind Makoni, a former finance minister

But Makoni spokesman Godfrey Chanetsa said no such meeting was in the works.

Tsvangirai spokesman George Tshibotshiwa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the formation has not considered working with Mr Makoni, who still identifies himself as a member of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Senior researcher Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis Group in South Africa said however that believes Tsvangirai would be open to some kind of alliance in the event that the March 29 presidential ballot gives rise to a runoff election.

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