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Main Zimbabwean Political Parties Haunted By Wikileaks Revelations

A meeting this week of the national executive of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai verged on fisticuffs as officials argued over the punishment to be meted out to those quoted in leaked US cables

The ghost of WikiLeaks refuses to go away for Zimbabwe's two major political parties with a national executive council meeting this week of the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai coming close to fisticuffs as officials argued over the punishment to be meted out to those quoted in leaked US cables.

Party President and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is said to have called for a tea break to relieve the tension, reminding his colleagues that they should remember that October 12 was the anniversary of the party’s split into two formations 2005.

Organizing Secretary Nelson Chamisa came in for much grief over his alleged comments to an American diplomat in Harare disparaging Mr. Tsvangirai.

President Robert Mugabe told his ZANU-PF party this week he wants an investigation into the leaked cables in which top party officials were indiscreet, at times disclosing sensitive information on among other topics Mr. Mugabe's health.

For perspective on the implications of the Wikileaked cables for both parties, reporter Sandra Nyaira turned to political analyst Charles Mangongera and Professor David Moore of the University of Johannesburg.

Mangongera said ZANU-PF is likely to sustain more damage from Wikileaks disclosures than the Tsvangirai MDC, particularly in light of recent revelations that party strategist Jonathan Moyo, a former information minister, engaged in discussions with British tycoon Richard Branson about a plan to induce Mr. Mugabe to step down.

Moyo has denied talking up such a plan, saying he merely bumped into Branson once at the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. He also dismissed comments by an unnamed spokesperson for Richard Branson who has been quoted by British newspapers as saying Moyo approached Branson regarding the initiative.

Moore said both parties are equally affected with the MDC likely to suffer more if the next Zimbabwean elections remain on hold for an extended period.

NB: An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified Professor Moore's academic affiliation as the University of Witwatersrand.