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More Wrangling In Zimbabwe On Way to Formation of Unity Government

Following the Zimbabwean parliament's passage this week of an amendment enabling the formation of a long-delayed unity government, another session Tuesday is expected to pass a bill creating a National Security Council that will oversee state security forces.

Creation of the National Security Council was a key demand by the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, which sought the panel to give the opposition party visibility into the functioning of the state security apparatus which was deeply implicated in deadly post-election violence in April-June 2008.

But political sources say problems are cropping up again between the MDC and the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe over the allocation of provincial governorships.

The Tsvangirai MDC says it should name the governors of the five provinces it won in March 2008 general elections; ZANU-PF wants five as well though it only won four provinces.

The rival MDC formation led by Arthur Mutambara meanwhile wants the governorship for Matabeleland South, which it dominated in the general election.

Elsewhere, the Tsvangirai MDC formation has been rocked by allegations that seven of its parliamentarians including Evelyne Masaiti, tipped to join Tsvangirai’s cabinet, were involved in diverting subsidized agricultural materials intended to be distributed to farmers.

The seven have denied the allegations.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told VOA that the party will look into the allegations, promising that if they are found to be true heads will roll.

A ZANU-PF house member and one ZANU-PF senator have been implicated too.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya, currently pursuing studies in human rights law in the U.S. at the University of Minnesota, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Tsvangirai’s MDC formation should name the majority of governors.

In a judicial development with political implications, a Harare magistrate on Friday threw out treason charges pending against Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Tsvangirai opposition formation. The charges were brought against Biti for allegedly prematurely announcing election results last year and plotting the overthrow of the government.

Magistrate Olivia Mariga dismissed the charges after Biti’s lawyers produced evidence - a recording of comments by a prosecutor - that the case was politically inspired.

Defender Lewis Uriri told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the conversation he taped reflected clear political bias by the state prosecutor.

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