Accessibility links

Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Government To Be Constituted On Friday

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in his second day on the job after a decade in opposition, told journalists that he has not yet lined up funding to back up his inaugural pledge to pay the country's civil servants in hard currency.

Tsvangirai spokesman Joseph Mungwari told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that securing that foreign exchange will be the task of the unity government that is to be formed on Friday when President Robert Mugabe swears in the cabinet.

Political sources said President Mugabe met Thursday with Mr. Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, a deputy prime minister and head of a rival formation of the Movement for Democratic Change which Tsvangirai founded in 1999. All three a signatories to the power-sharing agreement concluded on Sept. 15, 2008.

President Mugabe's office later Thursday released a statement giving the names of ministers and deputy ministers of his ZANU-PF party to be sworn in on Friday, but without stating what portfolios they would be assigned. The list included a number of familiar names, including Herbert Murerwa, who was dropped as finance minister in 2007.

The Finance Ministry has already been assigned to Tendai Biti, a member of parliament and secretary general of Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change formation.

Other names released included Patrick Chinamasa, justice minister in the outgoing caretaker government, Didymus Mutasa, formerly security minister, Nicholas Goche, outgoing labor minister, David Parirenyatwa, formerly health minister (to be supplanted by the MDC's Dr. Henry Madzorera), and Emmerson Mnangagwa, outgoing rural affairs minister.

Mnangagwa is considered a potential successor to Mr. Mugabe at the head of ZANU-PF.

The week's cabinet appointments have not been without controversy. Mr. Tsvangirai's appointment of Abednico Bhebhe of the MDC formation led by Mutambara as the minister in charge of water, was challenged by the Mutambara formation. Tsvangirai was forced to drop Bhebhe and replace him with Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, more senior in the MDC wing.

Mr. Tsvangirai also came under pressure to reverse his selection of Eddie Cross as minister of state enterprises and replace him with Joel Gabuza after complaints from representatives of the Matabeleland region that it was not sufficiently represented in the cabinet.

Mutambara MDC formation sources said the party will name David Coltart as to be education minister, while its secretary general, Welshman Ncube will head industry and trade.

Elsewhere, Mr. Tsvangirai met with the leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions which expressed support for his government and called his attention to the expectations of organized labor, as Harare correspondent Irwin Chifera reported.

The international community for the most part welcomed the new political order in Harare, but remained skeptical of President Mugabe’s willingness to embrace reform.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said London cannot treat Zimbabwe as an ordinary country until it undertakes serious reforms.

The U.S. government congratulated Mr. Tsvangirai on his elevation to prime minister on Wednesday, but said it will keep sanctions in place until President Mugabe shows he is committed to sharing power.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the new government must immediately address economic and humanitarian issues including the relentless cholera epidemic.

Political analyst Glen Mpani told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Tsvangirai's swearing-in opened an important phase in Zimbabwe's political life.

Amnesty International urged the incoming government to put human rights at the top of its agenda and offered a five-point plan to this end, as the organization's Zimbabwe researcher, Simeon Mawanza, explained to Brenda Moyo.

For a broader perspective, reporter Patience Rusere turned to political analyst and University of Zimbabwe Professor John Makumbe, and independent analyst Rejoice Ngwenya.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...