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Amid Recriminations, Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Partners Face Failure


Zimbabwe's tenuous political power-sharing process looked increasingly fragile on Wednesday as the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change of prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai traded recriminations over their failure to assemble the unity government envisioned in their Sept. 15 compact.

The political climate grew more acrimonious as Zimbabwe War Veterans Association Chairman Jabulani Sibanda threatened to “take action” against Tsvangirai, whom he accused of stalling implementation of the power-sharing pact. The state-run Herald newspaper quoted Sibanda as saying Tsvangirai was testing the people’s patience and they might turn on him.

MDC and ZANU-PF insiders said the rift between the parties to the agreement was widening despite efforts by former South African president Thabo Mbeki and the Southern African Development Community to break a weeks-old deadlock over the allocation of ministries in the government Zimbabweans hoped would undertake urgent national reconstruction.

SADC political officials are due in Harare next Monday for another attempt to end the impasse - a meeting of the SADC political troika or committee scheduled early this week failed to take place when Tsvangirai, who lacks a valid passport, failed to show up in Swaziland.

Now Tsvangirai’s formation of the MDC is saying he must first be the passport the government has failed to provide him before the party will commit to joining Monday's meeting.

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told the Herald that the MDC should stop “waffling in the press” and take its seat at the SADC negotiating table next week.

Tsvangirai's MDC formation, backed by Botswana, said it might demand new elections under international supervision if the power-sharing deal does not yield a unity government.

VOA was unable to obtain comment from ZANU-PF Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, whose office said he was out of the country.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that a new round of elections is an option.

Political analyst Herman Hanekom said in an interview from Cape Town that Mr. Mugabe’s strategy of claiming the most powerful ministries leaves the MDC little choice.

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

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