(AFP) – Oct 8, 2008
HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe's main political parties met Wednesday to iron out differences over the division of key cabinet posts in a unity government but failed to reach agreement, the opposition spokesman said.
"Our negotiating team led by secretary general Tendai Biti held a meeting with the ZANU-PF negotiating team but the situation remains as before," Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, told AFP.
"It's a deadlock. It can only be unlocked by the mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and the Southern African Development Community," said Chamisa.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his arch-rivals Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main MDC, and Arthur Mutambara who heads the splinter faction of the MDC signed a landmark power-sharing accord last month aimed at ending the country's political and economic crisis.
So far they have failed to agree on how to divide key ministries, leading the MDC to call for regional mediators to help break the impasse.
Under the deal, the 84-year-old Mugabe retains his position as head of state, after nearly three decades in power, while Tsvangirai took up the new post of prime minister.
Tsvangirai's MDC claims that Mugabe's ruling party wants to retain key posts -- believed to be the defence, home affairs, state security and finance ministries -- in violation of the pact.
Once a model African economy and regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe is now labouring under the world's highest inflation rate and crippling shortages of basic goods and food.
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