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S. Africa's Mbeki Faces Tall Order Restarting Zimbabwe Power-Sharing


Former South African president Thabo Mbeki was expected in Harare late Monday to launch an effort to save the power-sharing agreement he helped to forge last month - but which to some seemed on the brink of collapse following President Robert Mugabe's unilateral assignment of ministries to his ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

MDC founder and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday threatened to end talks if Mr. Mugabe did not reverse his action, taken late last week.

Instead, however, Mr. Mugabe swore in his two vice presidents without prior consultation with the MDC leaders who are supposed to be his partners in governing the country.

Meanwhile, though Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF indicated that the ministry of finance was still up for discussion, the party's chief parliamentary whip, Joram Gumbo, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC is too inexperienced to handle the portfolio.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC formation headed by Tsvangirai rejected the proposition that the MDC could not handle the nation's finances.

Edwin Mushoriwa, spokesman for the MDC wing led by Arthur Mutambara, said Mr. Mugabe was insincere in declaring that only the ministry of finance is still up for discussion.

Offering perspective, Cape Town-based political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said Mr. Mugabe is taking advantage of Mr. Mbeki's recent ouster from the South African presidency.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

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