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Observers Say Zimbabwe Opposition Should Seize Initiative In Harare

Zimbabwe's political opposition, divided since late 2005, should reunite and seize on deepening divisions within the ruling ZANU-PF party, some observers say.

They argue that pressure from the international community and especially countries in the Southern African region, galvanized by images of opposition officials beaten while in police custody, has unnerved President Robert Mugabe as never before.

Fueling speculation of a divide within the ruling ZANU-PF party, Vice President Joyce Mujuru held private discussions on the weekend with her South African counterpart, Deputy President Phumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, though no details were disclosed. She was accompanied by her husband, retired army commander Solomon Mujuru, considered to be a key figure in any reconfiguration of power in Harare.

Separately, private meetings held by secretaries general Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube of two MDC factions with top South African government officials, encouraged further speculation about the next turn of events in Zimbabwe. Unconfirmed reports said there were back-channel talks between ZANU-PF and MDC officials.

For perspective, reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Gorden Moyo, director of the Bulawayo Agenda, and Jacob Mafume, coordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, both civic organizations.

Mafume said the level of determination among Zimbabweans to bring about sweeping democratic reform is unprecedented and should be channeled by the opposition.

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