MDC to boycott Cabinet again

HARARE – Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party will again boycott Cabinet’s weekly meeting on Tuesday because “nothing has changed”, a top official of the party said.

“Nothing has changed,” MDC secretary general Tendai Biti who is Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister told ZimOnline. President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who formed a power-sharing government in February following inconclusive elections last year, are locked in a power-sharing dispute that is threatening to collapse the unity government.

The MDC almost three weeks ago decided to partially disengage itself from the coalition government in protest against Mugabe’s failure to fully implement a power-sharing pact – Global Political Agreement (GPA) – that established the nine-month-old coalition government.

The disengagement has helped nudge the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that helped set up the coalition government to start looking for a solution to the crisis.

The regional bloc’s politics, defence and security organ – also known as the Troika – sent a ministerial delegation to review implementation of the GPA and SADC chairman President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in Harare today to meet Zimbabwe’s feuding political leaders.

The Troika, which is chaired by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza with Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda his deputy and Swaziland’s King Mswati the third member, is set to meet in Maputo, Mozambique this week to discuss Zimbabwe’s troubled coalition government. South Africa attends the Troika’s meetings on Zimbabwe as mediator in the crisis.

Mugabe’s ZANU PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC remain deadlocked over key appointments while the MDC also accuses ZANU PF of engaging in a campaign to persecute its supporters.

At least 17 MDC legislators have been arrested since the beginning of the year on charges ranging from theft and public violence to rape and playing music that denigrates Mugabe. ZANU PF, in turn, accuses the MDC of reneging on a promise to push for the removal of travel bans and an asset freeze slapped by the West on its senior officials.