Zim Cabinet meet goes ahead despite boycott

President Robert Mugabe led a Zimbabwe Cabinet meeting on Tuesday despite a boycott by unity partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who flew to South Africa to appeal for regional mediation.

“The Cabinet started at nine [07.00GMT]. The session is being chaired by President Mugabe,” a government official told Agence France-Presse.

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

He flies to neighbouring Mozambique on Tuesday to meet President Armando Guebuza, chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc’s defence and security body in Chimoio, in the country’s central region.

“They will meet today at 16.00 hours [14.00GMT],” Mozambican presidential spokesperson Estefanio Muholove confirmed.

Zimbabwe state media reported on Tuesday that Mugabe will not recognise Tsvangirai’s suspension of ties until he is 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 Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba 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,” said Charamba.

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

MDC spokesperson and Cabinet minister Nelson Chamisa said that any decisions made at Tuesday’s meeting would not be binding.

“The matter is now in the hands of SADC and the AU [African Union] who are guarantors of this agreement,” he said, confirming Tsvangirai’s Mozambique trip.

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

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