Zimbabwe parties fail to break talks deadlock – Chamisa

HARARE – Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have again failed to break a deadlock over forming a cabinet after reaching a power-sharing deal, an MDC spokesman said on Friday.

"After the meeting of the negotiators last night, there has been no shift and the deadlock has not been broken. What we want is genuine power-sharing, not a false marriage," said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

"The issue is about ZANU-PF not appreciating that this is not an exclusive ZANU-PF government. They want all the ministries and we obviously can’t countenance that."

President Robert Mugabe signed the agreement with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday, relinquishing some powers for the first time in nearly three decades of rule under pressure from regional leaders and a growing economic crisis.

They met on Thursday to try to sort out who gets which posts in the cabinet.

The deal with Tsvangirai and the head of a breakaway opposition faction followed weeks of tense negotiations to end a political crisis compounded by the veteran leader’s disputed and unopposed re-election in a widely condemned vote in June.

Under the agreement, Tsvangirai, who heads the largest of the two MDC factions, will become prime minister and chair a council of ministers supervising the cabinet.

Tsvangirai’s party is expected to get 13 cabinet posts, with Arthur Mutambara’s breakaway faction likely to control an additional three ministries.

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, which lost control of parliament in the March election for the first time in 28 years, is likely to have 15 ministers in the cabinet.

But the 84-year-old Zimbabwean ruler, who has governed since independence from Britain in 1980, will retain the presidency and head the cabinet as well as keep control of the powerful army. The police are expected to fall under the opposition.

Zimbabweans hope the agreement, brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki, will be a first step in helping to rescue the once prosperous nation from economic collapse. Reuters