Tsvangirai Under Pressure From Party Faithfull Over Prosecutions

Senior MDC officials have warned Mr. Tsvangirai that six of the party’s members of Parliament are at risk of losing their seats due to prosecutions by judicial authorities loyal to President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF whom they accuse of bringing unfounded criminal charges.

The party boycotted a cabinet meeting Monday over the widening pattern of prosecutions which have landed one Manicaland province lawmaker in prison for seven years.

MDC sources say party leaders and members are increasingly unhappy with Mr. Tsvangirai’s defense of the unity government while his own party members are being targeted.

Political analyst Glen Mpani at Cape Town University, South Africa, said Mr. Tsvangirai’s meeting on Monday with Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is unlikely to be fruitful.

The three men are the principal signatories of the Global Political Agreement put in place in September 2008 as the basis for the unity government formed in February.

Elsewhere, Mr. Tsvangirai’s office has moved to assure bilateral and multilateral donors that funds they provide will be held by the World Bank to avoid diversion or misuse.

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to the office of the prime minister, told diplomats and officials from multilateral donor agencies yesterday that all funds will be handled through the new aid coordination mechanism and none will be held by the Reserve Bank.

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono has acknowledged the diversion of donor funds – in particular some US$7 million in monies provided to the country by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – in the past to finance government operations.

The cabinet committee on aid and coordination will be headed by Mr. Tsvangirai himself and will set spending priorities and monitor the flow of funds, Moyo said.

Moyo said the mechanism, approved by the cabinet two weeks ago, will ensure transparency.

In a related development, a coalition of leading civil society organizations took the inclusive government to task in a monthly monitoring report for failing to fully implement the Global Political Agreement.