Political turmoil is likely to fester for months to come, stunting investment, prolonging an aid freeze and wilting green shoots of economic recovery that were sprouting.

A broad-based solution to the 11-month long crisis looks increasingly unlikely in the near future after President Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) seems intent on rolling into action the December 2009 congress resolutions to trash the global political agreement and staunchly refuse to implement terms of a power-sharing deal.

A political commentator, Ronald Shumba said the balance of power was in Mugabe’s favour, and he appeared to be in no hurry to negotiate.

“It’s not a question of Maputo failing. It is just part of a long bargaining process,” Shumba said this week.

“Mugabe doesn’t need to give too much too quickly with the army behind him. They will just offer token gestures.”

Prior to the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Maputo, Mugabe showed signs of seeing reason to implement fully the power-sharing pact. But by the time of his December congress, the deeply troubled leader was on his old turf, saying a vehement no to any resolution of the outstanding issues with his arch-opponents.

“Zanu (PF), as the party of revolution and the people’s vanguard, shall not allow the security forces of Zimbabwe to be the subject of any negotiation for a so called ‘security sector reform’ that is based on patent misrepresentations of Zimbabwe’s heroic history and for the mere purpose of weakening the state so that it can be easily overthrown,” said one of the Zanu (PF) congress resolutions.

Significantly, the party resolved to “extricate itself” from its liaison with the MDC which it branded “ideologically incompatible” so as to “retain its mantle as the only dominant and ascendant political party that is truly representative and determined to safeguard the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Southern African nations have been accused of being too soft on Mugabe and his party and has dismally failed to ensure implementation of a pact which the regional bloc brokered.

The negotiators are not due to meet again until mid-January.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC party has slammed the continued hold up in fully implementing the pact.

“As MDC we are expecting the negotiating team to meet and finalise on the unfinished business of implementing the outstanding issues,” MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said. “Our wish is to have the matter concluded as soon as possible so that we can start focusing on the bread and butter issues that are affecting the people of Zimbabwe.”

Chamisa said he hoped outstanding issues had to be referred to SADC for arbitration “so that we move ahead with the business of the inclusive government.”

The fast economic turnaround ushered in by the use of multiple foreign currencies and the abandonment of the inflation-prone Zimbabwe dollar has benefited all citizens: more and more people in rural areas have shrugged off poverty; urban residents are becoming better off.

But analysts are warning that failure to implement the pact fully could see the country sliding back to instability.

More than 70 percent of the budget is donor funded. Several major donors including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and European Union have frozen aid worth hundreds of millions of dollars in development finance, and are demanding full implementation of the power-sharing pact before they bankroll the administration.
Others believe the popular MDC leader will simply hope to limp through to the next presidential election, which is scheduled for next year under the terms of the power-sharing deal.

“Morgan will be thinking he’s just got to get through this, hold elections and count on people to have him form an exclusive MDC government,” said one diplomatic source.

There are understood to be efforts afoot to unite the two MDC formations before elections to form a powerful front against Mugabe.