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Zimbabwe Opposition Says Mugabe-Only Election Killed Negotiations

A senior Zimbabwean opposition official said Tuesday that the one-man run-off election held on Friday and won by President Robert Mugabe, who was inaugurated on Sunday, had killed off any chance that a negotiated settlement of the deep and bitter crisis could be reached.

Secretary General Tendai Biti of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of former presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said the 'the sham and catalyptic election on 27 June 2008 totally and completely exterminated any prospects of a negotiated settlement.”

But Tsvangirai himself told VOA on Monday that the MDC was committed to talks.

Sources said South African President Thabo Mbeki was continuing efforts to broker a deal. Pretoria sources said he envisioned a government of national unity along Kenyan lines.

South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma hinted Pretoria was on the verge of clinching a deal between ZANU-PF and MDC, but the MDC dismissed such reports.

Tsvangirai on Tuesday was consulting with civic, labor and student leaders, telling them the challenge for the MDC is whether to engage with or disengage from Mr. Mugabe. The MDC has said that it does not recognize Mr. Mugabe as the country's legitimate president.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Tsvangirai sees three options: a transitional government for up to two years, a five-year government of national unity; or total disengagement.

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