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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Urges Mugabe To Unilaterally Form Government

Zimbabwe's troubled power-sharing process remained in limbo Wednesday three days after a Southern African Development Community summit controversially urged the parties to form a government immediately sharing control of the disputed Home Affairs Ministry.

The politburo of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party urged him to quickly form a new cabinet in line with the SADC summit resolution, whether or not opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, prime minister-designate under the terms of the Sept. 15 power-sharing agreement signed by the parties, is willing to join such a government.

Meanwhile on Wednesday members of parliament of Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change met in caucus and rejected the SADC summit resolution.

MDC insiders told VOA that the position taken by the parliamentary caucus would likely be adopted by the party's governing national council, scheduled to meet on Friday.

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu announced that, "The ZANU-PF politburo unanimously resolved that President Mugabe should, with immediate effect, proceed to form an inclusive government in compliance with resolutions of the SADC summit."

But senior ZANU-PF officials told VOA they are wary the international community will respond by tightening sanctions and refuse to bail out Zimbabwe, which is in desperate straits. Some Hence in ZANU-PF recommended engaging so-called moderate elements in the MDC while asking fellow SADC states to help lobby for the lifting of sanctions.

The South African government has urged the European Union and the United States to lift their targeted financial and travel sanctions. Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma told Reuters at a an EU-SADC conference in Brussels that the West should help Zimbabwe develop agriculture and attract investment instead of imposing sanctions.

But EU officials said they agree with the MDC that power sharing must be equitable and have been dismayed by SADC's handling of the power-sharing impasse.

Chief Parliamentary Whip Innnocent Gonese of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his fellow MDC lawmakers are pleased with how their leadership represented the party at the SADC summit.

Independent political analyst Hermann Hanekom said in an interview from Cape Town that it would be political suicide for Mr. Mugabe to form a new cabinet without Tsvangirai.

Political analyst Glen Mpani told VOA that the humanitarian crisis - hunger is widespread with four million Zimbabweans now receiving U.N. food assistance - would deepen if Mr Mugabe were to unilaterally appoint a new cabinet.

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