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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai's MDC Urges Elections If Talks Deadlock Persists

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporters Friday that despite this week's intervention by a party of South African facilitators it is time for President Jacob Zuma to acknowledge a deadlock

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said that it will call for new elections if the political impasse in Zimbabwe's unity government continues.

Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporters Friday that despite this week's intervention by a party of South African facilitators backed up by President Jacob Zuma, mediator on behalf of the Southern African Development Community, it is time for Mr. Zuma to officially call a deadlock.

But Zuma foreign policy advisor Lindiwe Zulu, a member of the facilitation team that spent two days in Harare this past week, told VOA that it is too early to call in President Zuma. She said that the facilatation team remains hopeful there will be a breakthrough in the long-blocked negotiations between Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

Chamisa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that ZANU-PF continues to stall. No response could be obtained immediately from ZANU-PF, which has been demanding that the MDC prevail upon Western governments to lift sanctions on President Mugabe and other top ZANU-PF officials.

London-based political analyst Msekiwa Makwanya said the election threat by the MDC indicates it is finding it hard to deal effectively with ZANU-PF.

Political analyst Brilliant Mhlanga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Zimbabwe is not yet ready for a new round of elections.

National elections in 2008 broke down after the first round amid delays in the release of results and mounting political violence in the runup to a presidential runoff in which Mr. Mugabe, running unopposed after Mr. Tsvangirai pulled out to protest violence against his party members, claimed re-election. The unity government was a way out of the subsequent political crisis.

The ZANU-PF presidium, meanwhile, appointed a new Politburo on Friday but made few changes other than adding Rugare Gumbo as information secretary and Webster Shamu as political commissar.

In other political news, Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported that Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC formation has accused Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo of interfering with the Chitungwiza town council - this amid an alleged corruption scandal in the Harare satellite community.

The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa said it was “disturbed by the revelations of mass-scale and systematic looting of resources” in Chitungwiza such as municipal housing lots. The group urged the government to take action against those responsible and to recover stolen assets and proceeds.