MDC ministers barred from travel as hostilities escalates

Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last week severed contacts with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF following mounting differences over the implementation of their power sharing agreement.

The party boycotted a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and Mr Tsvangirai said he will not convene council of ministers meetings – which are responsible for formulating government policy – until the dispute is resolved.

But MDC ministers still carry out their other official duties and attending parliament, which resumed sitting on Tuesday.

Mr Gorden Moyo, a Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office said he was denied permission to travel for a lecture on Zimbabwe’s eight month old unity government at a South African university.

According to Zimbabwean law, a minister may not travel out of the country without cabinet authority.

“I have been denied permission to travel for a lecture in South Africa,” Mr Moyo said while on his way to the airport in defiance of the directive.

“This goes to show that they are trying to prevent MDC ministers from carrying out their duties.

“The disengagement does not mean we have stopped being part of the government, we only suspended contact with Zanu PF.”

On Tuesday, the state media also accused Mr Tsvangirai of travelling out of the country without cabinet approval.

The Prime Minister is on a regional tour to drum up support for his party’s protest against what it says is Mr Mugabe’s reluctance to fully implement the power sharing pact brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

SADC and the African Union are the guarantors of the deal that was touted as the only way out of Zimbabwe’s devastating economic and political problems.

Meanwhile, the smaller faction of the MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara said it would not recognise a government led by Mr Mugabe’s Zanu PF if Mr Tsvangirai’s party decides to pull out of the unity government.

The party which is the smallest in the coalition attended Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. 

Prof Mutambara has also met Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai since the crisis began unfolding on Friday to try and bring them together but has refused to take sides.

"What we have right now is a dysfunctional marriage. We are very upset and very angry,” the deputy prime minister said.

“Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai in last year’s elections. The only election was in March last year.

“How can he run this country alone? If this Global Political Agreement is to collapse I would say to Robert Mugabe, you are not the President of Zimbabwe. You are an illegitimate leader.

“If this GPA is to collapse I would say to Morgan Tsvangirai please no grandstanding.”

The MDC says if the AU and SADC fail to find a lasting solution the United Nations must organise fresh elections. The Nation