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Toughest Issues Facing Zimbabwe Government Referred to Regional Group

Zimbabwe's uneasy national unity government reached the 100-day mark on Friday having this week resolved some of the issues that have troubled it from its inception but with other disagreements awaiting possible arbitration by Southern Africa's regional organization.

Both formations of the Movement for Democratic Change - the dominant one led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the smaller by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - agreed to seek the help of the Southern African Development Community in resolving the political deadlock over the leadership of the central bank and office of the attorney general.

Mr. Tsvangirai is anxious to see change in both offices - at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe because Governor Gideon Gono, is widely considered to have presided over the destruction of the economy and has also admitted raiding private hard currency counts, and in Tomana's case because reform on rule of law and human rights must start in the AG's office.

Gono and Tomana are close political allies of Mr. Mugabe, making their continued presence in office a major impediment to persuading Western donors to fund government operations.

Political sources say Mr. Mugabe has adamantly refused to consider replacing either one.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party is renewing its appeal to SADC, now with the support of the Mutambara formation, which earlier said the move was premature.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, chief ZANU-PF negotiator in the power-sharing process that began in late 2008 following the deadly wave of political violence marking the approach to a June presidential runoff, said he was not aware that a deadlock had been declared.

Mr. Tsvangirai told South Africa's Star newspaper that he believes the West is warming to his unity government. President Mugabe again demanded Western sanctions be lifted.

But the rights group Amnesty International said Friday that continuing abuses are deterring the international community from funding Zimbabwe's recovery. It urged SADC and the AU as power-sharing guarantors to demand an end to state crackdowns on government critics.

Amnesty International Zimbabwe researcher Simeon Mawanza told reporter Blessing Zulu that at least part of the Harare government has been struggling to end such abuses.

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