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Ex-Zimbabwean Finance Minister Makoni Disavows Challenge To Mugabe

Former Zimbabwean finance minister Simba Makoni, linked recently to a movement by dissident ruling party officials to form a new party, has disavowed any interest in such a splinter faction and mended fences with President Robert Mugabe, sources said.

Sources in Mr. Mugabe’s office told VOA that Makoni met Mr. Mugabe on Monday and denied any association with a dissident formation. Makoni reportedly told Mr Mugabe he wanted to seek a parliamentary seat in eastern Manicaland Province but had been blocked in previous attempts by State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa.

Sources close to the president said he gave Makoni an assurance that he will get the seat. Contacted by VOA, Makoni himself would neither confirm or deny having met with Mugabe or having had contacts with ruling party dissidents.

Meanwhile, those who said they had been working with Makoni have branded him a "coward" who lacks the courage to directly challenge Mr. Mugabe.

Senior Researcher Chris Maroleng of South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he was disappointed by Makoni's unwillingness to spearhead a ZANU-PF reform movement.

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