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By Peta Thornycroft
Harare
27 October 2008

Scores of demonstrators in support of Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal were arrested in Harare after scuffles broke out between members of the country's two main political parties. Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare the demonstration occurred before talks resumed in an effort to implement the power sharing agreement signed six weeks ago.

The Chair of the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe, Emilia Motawu, said scores of women were beaten and arrested before the power sharing talks resumed at a Harare hotel.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (2nd R) arrives at a Harare hotel for talks with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangerai to break an impasse on forming a unity government, 27 Oct., 2008
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (2nd R) arrives at a Harare hotel for talks with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangerai to break an impasse on forming a unity government, 27 Oct., 2008
She said the women had planned to stage a peaceful demonstration calling for Zimbabwe's political leaders to put their country's interest first during the talks. She said many women wanted an end to the political impasse as their families were hungry.


The talks, facilitated by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, resulted in a power-sharing agreement, but the implementation of the plan broke down over allocation of cabinet positions.

In earlier negotiations, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was given the two main security posts and prime-minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai demanded the home affairs ministry, which controls the police, immigration and the controversial voters' roll.

Also attending the talks are Zimbabwe minority party leader Arthur Mutambara, South African President Kgalema Mothlanthe, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique and senior politicians from Angola and Swaziland.

Mr. Tsvangirai has said he will not compromise on his demand for an equitable share of the ministries.

Morgan Tsvangirai is met by SADC executive secretary Tomaz Solomao (R) as he arrives at a Harare hotel for power-sharing talks with President Mugabe, 27 Oct., 2008
Morgan Tsvangirai is met by SADC executive secretary Tomaz Solomao (R) as he arrives at a Harare hotel for talks with President Mugabe, 27 Oct., 2008
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is one of the Zanu-PF party's two negotiators, criticized Mr. Tsvangirai in the state media, accusing him of campaigning for sanctions against Zimbabwe.


Most political analysts expect Mr. Mugabe to try to form a government with only his Zanu-PF party.

Mr. Tsvangirai has said that if the talks fail the deadlock should be referred to SADC summit and the African Union.

Zimbabwe is facing a severe food crisis and its currency has crashed with unprecedented speed in the past five days. Several retail outlets now say they cannot sell goods for Zimbabwe dollars because the currency is too unstable.

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