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Tough Talk Among Partners in Zimbabwe's Troubled 'All-Inclusive Government'

Following heated discussion Monday in a meeting involving Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara over longstanding and more recent issues troubling their national unity government, another faceoff looms on Thursday, government sources told VOA on Tuesday.

The government sources said President Mugabe told Mr. Tsvangirai and Mutambara that he is in charge and can make decisions without consulting the other two. All three signed a Global Political Agreement last Sept. 15 laying the groundwork for the power-sharing government which came into being in February after arduous haggling over the details.

Questions now on the table include ongoing invasions of white-owned commercial farms, Mr. Mugabe’s recent unilateral reassignment of some ministerial portfolio responsibilities, and a wide range of senior appointments including that of the Reserve Bank governor.

Sources said discussions Monday became so heated that power-sharing negotiators from Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF and both Movement for Democratic Change formations were called in to explain the political agreement clause by clause to define the powers of the principals.

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to Mr. Tsvangirai's office, confirmed the upcoming meeting in an interview with reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, adding that he is confident the challenges facing the unity government can be overcome.

But political analyst Charles Mangongera, less optimistic, said in an interview that ZANU-PF hardliners unhappy with the power-sharing deal are holding Mr. Mugabe hostage.

meanwhile, in a development unlikely to reduce tensions in the government, two senior officials of Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC formation released on bail late last week were re-arrested Tuesday at a private hospital where they were being treated for injuries.

The Tsvangirai MDC formation says the activists were tortured while being held by police and security forces on charges of engaging in terrorism, banditry and insurgence.

Ghandi Mudzingwa, a former personal assistant to Mr. Tsvangirai, and Chris Dhlamini, the director of security for the MDC grouping, were released Friday on a high court order.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said the re-arrest of the two party officials represented another violation of the global political agreement.

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