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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai Says Government Steady, Unveils Big Chinese Loan

Offering reassurance on Tuesday that there is no danger Zimbabwe's unity government will collapse amid tensions among its partners, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced that Harare has secured a credit line of US$950 million from China.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe told another news conference that the ministers belonging to Mr. Tsvangirai's formation Movement for Democratic Change formation were boycotting a cabinet meeting held that day. She charged that President Robert Mugabe, in moving the session up to Monday from Tuesday so he could chair it before leaving for an African Union summit in Libya, had slighted Mr. Tsvangirai in not leaving the chair to him.

Khupe also cited a "lack of recognition of the fundamental principal of equality" in the unity government shared by the two MDC formations and Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF since February, which "has given rise to a persistent and corrosive culture of unilateralism."

Unresolved and festering issues include the tenures of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, reappointed in late 2008 by Mr. Mugabe without consultation with his prospective partners in government, and his similar appointment of Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

Mr. Khupe also complained that the National Security Council, created with the government, has yet to be convened due to resistance by the various security chiefs.

Mr. Tsvangirai on Tuesday told reporters that there was "no reason the government is going to collapse," while acknowledging frustration within his party.

VOA Harare correspondent Irwin Chifera reported that senior MDC officials say the China loan deal was in the works for nearly a month before its announcement.

Officials at the Chinese embassy in Harare declined to comment. The loan appeared to be a political coup for Mr. Tsvangirai, coming on top of his recently concluded Western tour which Mr. Mugabe had characterized as a failure as he only raised some $500 million dollars.

Political sources noted that Acting President Joyce Mujuru did not mention the credit line after meeting with the outgoing Chinese ambassador at the Munhumutapa offices on Tuesday

Chinese news service Xinhua said a ZANU-PF delegation led by Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was in Beijing, but the agency did not specifically refer to the loan.

Tsvangirai advisor Eddie Cross, a Bulawayo member of Parliament, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that the Chinese credit line will be very important in relaunching the economy, in particular in restoring the national infrastructure.

London-based political analyst Msekiwa Makwanya said Mr. Tsvangirai stole a march on Mr. Mugabe and the ZANU-PF China delegation in securing the big loan.

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