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Partners in Zimbabwe's Fractious Government Pursue Crisis-Resolution Talks

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met Monday with negotiators for his formation of the Movement for Democratic Change and of ZANU-PF to discuss the framework for intra-government talks following mediation by the Southern African Development Community.

Mr. Tsvangirai met with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Transport Minister Nicholas Goche of ZANU-PF and Finance Minister Tendai Biti of his own party.

Negotiators for the MDC wing headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara did not attend as they were traveling, political sources said.

All three unity government principals including President Robert Mugabe met on Friday.

Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Monday’s meeting followed up on those talks by the principals last week.

Political analyst Immanuel Hlabangana told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that there seems to be little political will on the part of ZANU-PF to implement the Global Political Agreement in full, so it's unlikely the parties to power-sharing will meet a 30-day SADC deadline to resolve the so-called outstanding issues that have troubled power-sharing from the start.

Elsewhere, the weapons-for-terrorism trial of Senator Roy Bennett, treasurer of the prime minister's MDC formation, opened in Harare in earnest on Monday after the presiding judge refused to recuse himself over his ruling in a related weapons case from 2006.

State prosecutors led by Attorney General Johannes Tomana himself alleged that Bennett channeled funds through Mozambique to Michael Peter Hitschmann, the reluctant star witness for the prosecution who went to prison in 2006 on weapons-possession charges.

The trial session ended when Bennett's defense lawyers challenged testimony by a police investigator regarding Hitschmann's statements upon his arrest as hearsay.

High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu upheld the objection by the defense, but granted the state a 24-hour postponement urging prosecutors to organize themselves, reports VOA Studio 7 Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi.

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