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Deferred Decision On Women's Assembly Leaves Zimbabwe Opposition Unsettled

Moves made over the weekend by the top decision-making body of the Zimbabwean opposition faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai to temporarily resolve a conflict over the leadership of its women's assembly failed to relieve internal tensions, sources said.

The national council of Tsvangirai's grouping of the Movement for Democratic Change took up the vexed question as to who is the rightful leader of its women's assembly - ousted chairwoman Lucia Matibenga or successor Theresa Makone - but punted rather than deciding, leaving Makone in place until after the next elections.

As the next elections won't take place until March at the earliest, and the council said the final decision wouldn't be made until three months after that, the decision in effect left Makone in possession of the office and Matibenga partisans fuming.

The council offered Matibenga a seat on the national executive council, a wider body with lesser powers than the council. Matibenga said she was seeking advice on the offer, while Makone declined to comment on the council's decision.

But council member Aaron Chinhara, MDC Midlands North provincial treasurer, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the resolution in his opinion reflected the position of the party leaders who imposed Makone as the women's assembly chief over opposition by the majority of council members.

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