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Report: Zimbabwe opposition makes fresh demands in inter-party talks
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11:59, August 31, 2008

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The Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has demanded that cabinet be co-chaired by President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, state media the Herald reported on Saturday.

The opposition has also demanded to open fresh negotiations on all issues that had been discussed and agreed to, the Herald said.

The Herald quoted a source as saying that the only new but nonetheless absurd suggestion from the MDC-T was that cabinet to be co-chaired by President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

The ruling ZANU-PF has dismissed the suggestion, the state media quoted the source as saying.

The Zimbabwe inter-party talks, aimed at solving the political crisis facing Zimbabwe, resumed on Friday in South Africa.

South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad on Friday told the press in the administrative capital of Pretoria that the talks would finalize all outstanding matters.

"All the relevant players are here in South Africa at the moment and I think the length of the discussion will be determined by what progress they make," the deputy foreign minister said.

The Zimbabwe ruling and the opposition have not worked out a power-sharing deal yet after weeks of talks which is mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is approved as a mediator by the South African Development Community.

The resumption of talks came days after President Mugabe said he would soon form a new government.

Mugabe said on Tuesday at the opening of Parliament that "We shall soon be setting up a government."

"The MDC does not want to come in apparently," Mugabe said

The president said he was going to appoint cabinet ministers who can manage the business of the people.

"I need managers. I want workers -- people who take people to work. I do not want people with own business. I want one business -- the people's business," the Herald quoted Mugabe as saying.

"Let's us be united. Let's not be destroyers of our party. We have destroyed part of it. Now that we have survived. Let's ensure the party is strengthened," Mugabe said.

The Herald on Friday also reported that the Zimbabwe ruling ZANU-PF had said that there were no more talks between the parties involved since there was a deal already on the table awaiting Tsvangirai's approval.

ZANU-PF principle negotiator Cde Patrick Chinamasa said on Thursday there was no need for more talks since there was a deal already on the table that is waiting to be signed by parties involved in the talks.

Zimbabwean President and ruling ZANU-PF candidate Mugabe won a landslide victory in the presidential run-off election on June 27.

The Zimbabwe election committee said official results showed that Mugabe, 84, won 85.5 percent of the votes in the election against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's 9.3 percent, defeating Tsvangirai by a huge margin.

Zimbabwe held the presidential run-off as scheduled despite opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the race. Tsvangirai withdrew from the election citing various reasons, including political violence.

Tsvangirai received 47.9 percent of the votes in the first round of election held on March 29, followed by President Robert Mugabe's 43.2 percent.

An outright winner needs to obtain an absolute majority of the votes, otherwise a run-off needs to be held, according to Zimbabwe's law.


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