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Stalled Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Process Causing Concern In Region

Zimbabwe's troubled power-sharing process stumbled again on Tuesday as negotiators met but again failed to agree on how ministries should be distributed among the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and the two Movement for Democratic Change branches.

The delay in forming a government following the signing of the unity pact on September 15 led the government of neighboring Botswana to express its concern. Its foreign ministry issued a statement saying the deadlock was "disturbing and...cannot be ignored."

Gabarone warned that delay will only add to the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.

But the head of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, said Tuesday that Zimbabwe's political parties should keep talking to resolve the impasse.

He expressed confidence that former South African president Thabo Mbeki can resolve the crisis if called upon to help. But ZANU-PF officials say Mbeki's help is not needed.

Tsvangirai's MDC formation says ZANU-PF wants to monopolize central portfolios such as Foreign Affairs and Finance, as well as Defense and Home Affairs.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of Tsvangirai's MDC wing told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that after negotiating for two hours negotiators again hit a snag.

South African political analyst Hermann Hanekom, in an interview from Cape Town, said President Mugabe and ZANU-PF are not negotiating in good faith.

The MDC formation of prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the Southern African Development Community, with the African Union a guarantor of the power-sharing deal that ended months of post-election turmoil, to intervene to break the deadlock.

In an appearance Monday in Washington, former president Festus Mogae of Botswana said SADC leaders "must speak with one voice" and tell Zimbabwe's government that "it is time to stop the suffering of the Zimbabwean people."

Mogae issued the appeal during a symposium on his decade at Botswana's helm at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars.

Among other points he criticized Mbeki's role in the crisis, saying Mbeki could have spoken more firmly but did not, preventing SADC from taking stronger positions on Zimbabwe.

Mogae told his Washington audience that it is in the interest of all parties in Zimbabwe to come to a settlement, establish peace, and rebuild.

Midlands correspondent Taurai Shava reported that with cabinet posts the focus of talks the allocation of provincial governorships has yet to be addressed - yet residents of Gokwe say they are being pressed for contributions to celebrate the inauguration of Jason Machaya of ZANU-PF as governor of the province, donations they can ill afford.

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