London, Aug 9 : President Robert Mugabe seeks a dominant role in the coalition government and is insisting on retaining substantial power that may emerge from a deal to end Zimbabwe's crisis.
Mugabe's stance could paralyse the talks between his Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, despite speculation that a settlement is imminent, a senior source in Harare has said.
A source close to the negotiations said that the key question of dividing executive power between Mugabe and his key opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, in any new government had yet to be settled.
"Zanu-PF launched murder and blood to protect executive power," he said. "If anyone thinks they are going to go to an air-conditioned room to surrender executive power they are dreaming."
Mugabe will seek to keep enough power to be the dominant figure in a government of national unity which would include - and perhaps neutralise - Tsvangirai, The Telegraph reported.
When the two men shook hands on July 21, they signed a "memorandum of understanding" promising to end all political violence. But mobs loyal to Mugabe have murdered at least three people since that occasion.
Zanu-PF thugs are still roaming parts of the country, assaulting suspected opposition supporters, imposing curfews and refusing to allow villagers who have fled the violence to return home.