Cabinet meets despite MDC boycott

Robert Mugabe led a Zimbabwean cabinet meeting in Harare on Tuesday despite a boycott by unity partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who has flown to South Africa to appeal for regional mediation.

"The cabinet started at nine. The session is being chaired by President Mugabe," said a government official.

Tsvangirai left Harare for South Africa on Monday to seek help from the regional leaders who mediated the fragile power-sharing pact after he cut ties with Mugabe’s "dishonest and unreliable" camp Friday.

He will fly to neighbouring Mozambique on Tuesday to meet President Armando Guebuza, the chairman of the Southern African Development Community’s defence and security body, in Chimoio in the country’s central region.

‘The matter is now in the hands of the SADC and the AU’

"They will meet today at 16:00 hours," said Estefanio Muholove, a Mozambican presidential spokesman.

Zimbabwean state media reported on Tuesday that Mugabe would not recognise Tsvangirai’s suspension of ties until he was formally informed.

"Until the communication is done formally the president has no reason or any grounds to think or know otherwise," the Herald newspaper quoted George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesman, as saying about Tsvangirai’s decision.

"This can be done orally or in writing but in a formal manner. From that point of view nothing has happened."

Under the power-sharing agreement, Mugabe’s party, Zanu-PF, is in charge of 15 ministries, Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has 13, and a smaller faction of the MDC has three.

MDC spokesman and cabinet minister Nelson Chamisa said any decisions made at Tuesday’s meeting would not be binding.

"The matter is now in the hands of the SADC and the AU (African Union) who are guarantors of this agreement," he said, confirming Tsvangirai’s trip to Mozambique.

Tsvangirai has said he will only resume relations with his long-term rival once unresolved issues are settled. The issues include disputes over key posts and a crackdown against MDC supporters. – Sapa-AFP