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S. Africa's Mbeki Awaited In Harare As Power-Sharing Deal Remains Elusive

Having failed to achieve a Zimbabwe power-sharing deal in the just-ended summit of the Southern African Development Community, South African President and SADC Chairman Thabo Mbeki was expected in Harare late this week for another stab at persuading ZANU-PF and both formations of the Movement for Democratic Change to come to terms.

Addressing reporters late Sunday, Mr. Mbeki said his mediation would continue.

The failure at the SADC summit was not for lack of heavy hitters. Two different SADC political and security "troikas" worked directly with the principals, especially President Robert Mugabe and MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai, but in vain. The mandate of the first troika was expiring and the new troika, comprising Mozambique, Swaziland and Angola, took over.

Tsvangirai on Monday set out on a tour of regional capitals aiming to bolster support for his position on power-sharing, meeting first with Botswanan President Ian Khama, who stayed away from the SADC summit to protest the attendance of President Mugabe on grounds that his widely condemned June 27 re-election violated SADC and African Union norms.

Tsvangirai was next scheduled to meet senior officials of South Africa's ruling African National Congress before heading to Ghana to meet President John Kufuor.

Reviewing the weekend's failed negotiations, SADC sources said the main sticking point had continued to be the division of executive powers between Mr. Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister in a national unity government.

The sources said the Tsvangirai MDC argued that Mugabe could keep most of his executive powers and maintain direct control of the state security apparatus.

Tsvangirai, for his part, demanded full control of the cabinet.

But Mr. Mugabe, backed by rival MDC leader Arthur Mutambara, called this an unacceptable transfer of power, saying Tsvangirai would then have all executive powers.

In response, Tsvangirai offered Mr. Mugabe the post of prime minister, but Mugabe declined.

Sources told VOA that at one point late Sunday, Mr. Tsvangirai countered that he wanted the presidency, not the prime ministership, which infuriated Mr. Mugabe.

The MDC later furnished the troika with a list of Mugabe’s executive powers according to the current Zimbabwean constitution. The SADC leaders are said to have been shocked by the extent of the powers which the MDC argued that Mugabe would be keeping.

Political analyst Brian Kagoro told reporter Blessing Zulu that Mr. Mbeki must be firm with President Mugabe if his mediation efforts are to succeed.

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