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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai Urges Closure in Gov't Talks, Dismisses MDC Rift Reports

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Mr. Tsvangirai told journalists that the long-running negotiations between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations over contentious power-sharing issues must come to a conclusion

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the dominant formation of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change, called Monday on South African President Jacob Zuma to step up efforts to broker resolution of the numerous issues troubling Harare's power-sharing government.

Addressing a news conference on Monday at the Harvest House headquarters of his MDC party, Mr. Tsvangirai also dismissed rumors and reports of a new rift in his party, which split into two formations in 2005.

Mr. Tsvangirai told journalists that the long-running negotiations between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations over contentious power-sharing issues must come to a conclusion.

Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe in particular have been haggling over numerous issues including Mr. Mugabe’s refusal to swear in MDC Senator Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister and his unilateral 2008 appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Attorney General Johannes Tomana and provincial governors.

South African facilitators recently returned to Harare for a follow-up mediation effort, but were said to have left with little to show for their trouble despite a new round of talks with the unity government principals.

Turning to the internecine political violence reported to have occurred at his party's headquarters, Mr. Tsvangirai said his MDC has appointed a committee to investigate and its findings would soon be issued.

His comments followed reports that MDC Director General Toendepi Shonhe and Security Director Chris Dhlamini were assaulted by youth members of the party last month at its Harvest House headquarters.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare that Mr. Tsvangirai dismissed media reports of a power struggle between himself and Finance Minister Tendai Biti, secretary general of the party.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Spokesman Sydney Chisi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that reports of political infighting in Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC formation are inevitable as the party gears up for an elective congress next year in which it will deliberate on the leadership of the party.

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