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Some Issues Troubling Zimbabwe's National Unity Government Are Resolved

Principals in Zimbabwe's national unity government reached agreement Tuesday on some of the issues troubling their power-sharing arrangement, said officials informed on a meeting Monday involving President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Senior sources in Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change of Mr. Tsvangirai said the National Security Council which was created to govern the security services will now meet every Thursday, resolving a dispute over its convening.

Zimbabwe's military heads and security agency chiefs have until now refused to brief Mr. Tsvangirai on national security issues – some have vowed never to salute him.

Progress was made on a lingering dispute over the naming of MDC ambassadors. Sources said Public Service Commission Chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa would meet senior officials of the three governing parties on the training and dispatch of MDC ambassadors overseas.

Sources said that of five diplomatic posts now vacant the Tsvangirai MDC formation would fill four, while the Mutambara grouping would be given one ambassadorship.

In addition, five governors named by the Tsvangirai MDC and one named by the Mutambara formation are to be sworn in next month, ending months of delay.

The three principals in the unity government also agreed to move ahead to establish a media commission and speed up reform of the communications sector.

But President Robert Mugabe was said to have said to have refused to budge on the vexed question of the tenures of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, reappointed by him late last year, and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, named to the post in late 2008 without consultation with the MDC despite signature of a power-sharing pact.

MDC sources said both party formations have asked the Southern African Development Community to intervene, presenting a report citing more than 700 alleged instances in which Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF have breached the global political agreement. It also detailed the prosecution of several MDC lawmakers and harassment of other activists.

Political observer Andrew Meldrum, senior editor at the Global Post in Boston and a Harvard University lecturer, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the latest agreement is a small but positive step.

Elsewhere, MDC sources told VOA that party members were becoming impatient with Mr. Tsvangirai for what they called a softly-softly approach dealing with Mr. Mugabe.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a minister in the Tsvangirai formation told VOA that “everyone wants to see finality once and for all.”

However, London-based political analyst Brilliant Mhlanga of the University of Westminster told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that members of the Tsvangirai MDC formation should back their leader despite the lack of progress.

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