Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 19:26 UK

Zimbabwe opposition says no deal

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Sept 27 2008
Zimbabwe's opposition says Zanu-PF wants the top cabinet posts

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says talks with President Mugabe have failed to produce agreement on cabinet posts.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa accused Mr Mugabe of demanding all the key ministries for his Zanu-PF party in the new unity government.

He was speaking after a meeting between MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the Zimbabwean President.

A power-sharing deal was signed two weeks ago to end the political crisis.

Mr Chamisa said the opposition and Mr Mugabe remained far apart on the issue of who should control which ministries.

Further mediation

"He wants to grab all the resource ministries like finance, home affairs, information, justice and make the MDC a peripheral player," he said. "We will end up in but out of government."

Mr Chamisa also called for further mediation as well as African Union involvement.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki mediated the negotiations which produced the power-sharing agreement.

On Monday, Mr Mugabe said he expected a unity government to be formed by the end of this week and rejected suggestions that the talks were deadlocked over appointments to cabinet posts.

Under the deal, Mr Mugabe will remain president, while Mr Tsvangirai will become prime minister.

The agreement also provides for Zanu-PF to hold 15 cabinet seats.

Economic crisis

Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC will get 13 cabinet posts, and a breakaway faction of the MDC, led by Arthur Mutambara, will be handed three positions, giving the combined opposition a narrow majority.

Mr Mugabe will chair the cabinet, which decides on government policy. Mr Tsvangirai will chair a council of ministers, which implements policy.

The president also keeps control of the military, while the MDC wants to direct the police.

The hope is that a new government can overcome the acute economic crisis. Inflation is still officially about 11 million per cent and there are severe shortages of food.

The crisis worsened after disputed elections earlier this year.

Mr Tsvangirai gained more votes than Mr Mugabe in the March elections but not enough for outright victory.

He pulled out of a run-off in June, accusing Zanu-PF militia and the army of organising attacks on its supporters which left some 200 people dead.

Power-sharing diagram

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