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Zimbabwe's three governing Parties Close to Deal

Published on Monday 7th December 2009

imbabwe's three governing parties are close to reaching an agreement on a range of thorny disputes threatening their power sharing agreement, insiders revealed at the weekend.

Sources close to the talks said negotiators from Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations who have been meeting in secrecy since November 23 had agreed on a raft of media reforms.

An announcement is also expected early this week on the establishment of media, human rights, anti-corruption and electoral commissions as spelt out in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed last year.

The parties have also agreed on the issue of provincial governors and they will now work on the dates for implementation.

A total of 27 items have been placed on the agenda and the most divisive include President Robert Mugabe's unilateral appointment of his cronies to head the central bank and the attorney general's office.

The respected Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported that the negotiators have already gone over 15 items, agreeing on 12 of them.

They have also agreed to put the issue of the appointment of MDC treasurer general Mr Roy Bennett who is facing terrorism and banditry charges on hold until they agree on the matters because they fear it could jeopardize the talks.

President Mugabe has refused to swear in Mr Bennett as deputy Agriculture minister until he is cleared of the charges, which his party says were trumped up.

The negotiations gathered pace last week after South African President Jacob Zuma sent a new facilitation team that met the principals in the unity government -President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - and urged them to respect a regional timeline.

Mr Tsvangirai and his MDC on November 5 ended their boycott of the unity government after an emergency summit of the Southern African Development Community.The party had given Mr Mugabe 30 days to fully implement the GPA but the deadline passed on Saturday without any major announcement.

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