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Zimbabwean PM Tsvangirai Resumes Duties After Initial Grieving Period

Zimbabwe Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai resumed his official duties on Wednesday after ending a period of compassionate leave following the death of his wife, Susan, on March 6 in a crash on the highway between Harare and his home town of Buhera, Manicaland.

An aide to Mr. Tsvangirai said the prime minister's priority now that he is back on the job is to resolve outstanding issues causing friction within the national unity government formed by the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change party which he founded and the long-ruling ZANU-PF party headed by President Robert Mugabe.

A scheduled meeting between Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe, with their deputies and vice presidents, was put off until next week because Deputy Prime Minister Thokozane Khupe, whose mother passed away last Thursday, was unable to attend the consultation.

Issues outstanding since the formation of the unity government in February include the appointment provincial governors, ministerial permanent secretaries and ambassadors, and the continuing wave of farm seizures which Mr. Tsvangirai has condemned, last week warning that those involved in white-owned commercial farm takeovers will be prosecuted.

Mr. Tsvangirai has noted that continued seizures of farms undermine the government’s efforts to secure funding for reconstruction from international donors who see such farm invasions as evidence the rule of law has not been restored in Zimbabwe despite a new government.

Mr. Tsvangirai summoned Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa for separate discussions.

Sources informed on Mr. Tsvangirai’s meeting with Mnangagwa said the two discussed the farm seizures and concerns the military has become involved in the land takeovers.

Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the prime minister had a busy schedule debriefing key ministers.

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