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Zimbabwe PM Begins Regional Tour

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VOA News - October 20, 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mozambican leader Armando Guebuza are to meet late Tuesday for talks on ways to implement the faltering political agreement in Zimbabwe, which gave birth to the coalition government in February.

Officials in Harare and Mozambique say Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mozambique President Armando Guebuza are to meet in Chimoio, in central Mozambique. They are to discuss problems with fully implementing Zimbabwe's unity government that includes the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.

Officials of Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change say he is also seeking meetings with the presidents of Southern Africa Development Community countries Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, and South Africa.

The SADC troika on security and politics, chaired by President Guebuza has called a meeting on Zimbabwe in late November.

The Southern Africa Development Community and the African Union guaranteed the agreement that led to Zimbabwe's inclusive government.

Last week, Mr. Tsvangirai called Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF unreliable partners in the inclusive government and suspended all contact with them. Mr. Tsvangirai's patience with delays in implementing the 13-month-old agreement snapped when MDC treasurer Roy Bennett was arrested last Tuesday.

The third signatory to Zimbabwe's political agreement, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who leads the second small MDC faction, said he would be meeting Mr. Mugabe and call on him to quit office if he is unable to resolve outstanding issues.

Mutambara said ministers he appointed were attending Cabinet sessions to, in his words, "stop ZANU [PF] from making outrageous decisions or implement any unilateral ambitions. He said Mr. Mugabe is not president of Zimbabwe outside the inclusive government and should it collapse he would become "illegitimate" and a "rebel" leader unrecognized by the Southern Africa Development Community, the African Union, and the international community.

Mutambura said the inclusive government's priority must be production of a new constitution "to create conditions for free and fair elections."

The newly re-elected president of Botswana, Ian Khama, said he would not recognize Mr. Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe outside the inclusive government.

Mr. Tsvangirai says outstanding issues in fully implementing the inclusive government agreement include selective prosecutions, continued tenure of Mr. Mugabe's appointees as head of the central bank and the office of attorney general, failure to swear in provincial governors from the MDC, which won last year's general election.

ZANU-PF appointed spokesman for Mr. Mugabe, George Charamba, said the Cabinet met as normal and the session was chaired by Mr. Mugabe who has not yet responded to Mr. Tsvangirai's suspension of contact with ZANU-PF.

Charamba said no official communication had been received from Mr. Tsvangirai about his suspension of contact with ZANU-PF.


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