The country has been running without a substantive government since Mr Mugabe’s controversial June 27 re-election, further deepening a decade old political and economic crisis. 

A land mark deal that will see the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) sharing power equally was concluded a week ago but its implementation has been stalled by a dispute over the allocation of cabinet posts.

In a statement, Mr Mugabe’s chief secretary, Dr Misheck Sibanda said the outgoing ministers should continue discharging their duties until the appointment of a new government.

He said this was necessary to facilitate a smooth handover, takeover process.

"The office of the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet assisted by the chairman of the Public Service Commission will continue to supervise and coordinate the activities of ministries to guarantee efficient service delivery," he said.

However, the newly appointed provincial governors, all drawn from Zanu PF were told to stop performing their official duties until talks on the formation of a new cabinet were concluded. 

Meanwhile, Washington is very concerned over a deadlock in Zimbabwe in forming a cabinet.

The US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Jendayi Frazer, said Washington was closely watching the impasse on cabinet posts since Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal last week.

"Of course, we will be looking very carefully at the outcome of this impasse," Frazer told Reuters at the UN General Assembly.