Zimbabwean civil society leaders unhappy with the direction of ongoing power-sharing talks are threatening demonstrations to express displeasure with what they say is an undue focus on politics and insufficient attention to a deepening economic and social crisis.

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said his group and other non-governmental organizations plan to stage demonstrations on occasions such as the Southern African Development Community summit opening Friday in Pretoria.

Also on the cards are petitions to the principals in the talks and a grassroots campaign to push for an expanded mediation process bringing in civil society representatives.

Madhuku told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the NCA and other non-governmental organizations believe civic groups could play a balancing role in ensuring that the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans are addressed.

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