In an interview, Tsvangirai said George Charamba, who is also permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information, was abusing his control of the government’s vast broadcasting and newspaper empire to heighten tensions and deepen mistrust in the six-month old power-sharing government. 

Tsvangirai, who agreed to join Mugabe in government last February to try to end a political crisis triggered by inconclusive elections last year, has become a target of bitter attacks in the state media. The state media remains under the firm control of Charamba and other hardliner supporters of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party despite formation of the power-sharing government.

“These are people who never wanted this agreement to work. They are stuck in the past and are using their government positions to force a return to the past,” Tsvangirai said.

He added: “The state media is being used as the vehicle for the agenda. The problem is not with state media editors. George Charamba is the problem and he is behaving as a commissar of an anti-reform group. This can prove a dangerous group if not reined in.

“I have told Mugabe that this cannot go on. Mugabe cannot allow his own spokesman to exhibit such behaviour if he is genuinely interested in making this government work.”

Tsvangirai also disclosed that the Public Service Commission (PSC) that hires government workers had refused to absorb some of his staff into the civil service and dismissed charges that he was running a parallel government structure.

“They (PSC) are refusing to take a lot of my staff into the public service, including security and administration staff. I have insisted they continue working anyway and they are working for the Prime Minister’s office,” he said.

Pro-ZANU PF columnists writing in government-owned newspapers have accused Tsvangirai of setting up a parallel government structure whose workers are paid using money donated by Western governments and agencies.  They claim the rival government structure is part of a wider scheme by the West to eventually oust Mugabe from power.

But Tsvangirai said he had no need set up a parallel structure to rival a government that he leads as Prime Minister.

He said: “How do I run a parallel government when the GPA (global political agreement or power-sharing agreement) and the Constitution clearly state that I supervise the government, the entire government.

“All Cabinet ministers must report to me and that is why there is a council of ministers, which I chair. Those who think there is a parallel government are those that report to President Mugabe without reporting to me as required by law.”

Both Charamba and PSC boss Mariyawanda Nzuwa were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government has done well to stabilise the economy and end inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent at the height of the country’s economic meltdown last year.

But analysts remain doubtful about the administration’s long-term effectiveness, citing unending squabbles between ZANU PF and Tsvangirai’s MDC party and the coalition government’s inability to secure direct financial support from rich Western nations. – ZimOnline