MDC Boycotts Cabinet Again

Harare, – Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and ministers drawn from his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party on Tuesday boycotted a Cabinet meeting for the second time in as many weeks, an official said.

"We did not attend a Cabinet meeting again today until the outstanding issues have been addressed," said Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the MDC, who is also a Cabinet minister.  "Friction has no winners, conflict has no harmony," he added.

However, President Robert Mugabe and ministers from his Zanu-PF party went ahead and met on Tuesday morning, government sources said.

A smaller faction of the MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara also attended the meeting.

Under the unity government accord, Zanu-PF has 15 Cabinet ministers, Tsvangirai’s MDC has 13 while Mutambara’s smaller faction has three.

On Monday, Mugabe and Tsvangirai were "poles apart" on key unity government issues, as the leaders failed to break a deadlock over disagreements on government appointments.

Monday’s meeting was the first between the longtime rivals since Tsvangirai shelved ties with what he called Mugabe’s "dishonest and unreliable" camp on October 16, sparking a crisis in the fragile, eight-month partnership.

Following the MDC’s cutting of ties, Tsvangirai snubbed last week’s regular meeting with Mugabe and embarked on a regional tour to appeal for Southern African leaders to intervene in the standoff.

The MDC leader has said he will only resume cooperation once all outstanding issues are resolved, which include wrangles over key posts and a crackdown on his supporters.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe agreed to form a unity government in February after disputed polls saw the 85-year-old veteran president handed victory in a one-man run-off election last June. – AFP