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Another Cabinet Showdown Looming In Harare's Troubled Unity Government

A showdown loomed Wednesday within Zimbabwe's troubled power-sharing government as ministers from the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai vowed to pressure their ZANU-PF governing partners to meet in full the terms of the September 2008 Global Political Agreement underlying the government.

MDC sources said a walkout from a cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday is one option if ZANU-PF and President Robert Mugabe do not accede to their demands.

The formation boycotted a cabinet meeting called by Mr. Mugabe on Monday, June 29, saying Mr. Tsvangirai was slighted when the president moved up the meeting from Tuesday that week so he could chair it before leaving for an African Union summit. MDC officials also cited unresolved issues facing the unity government since it was formed in mid-February.

Sources familiar with discussions in a meeting Tuesday of top MDC officials said Mr. Tsvangirai rejected Mr. Mugabe's claim that the prime minister apologized for last week’s boycott.

Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told VOA that Mr. Tsvangirai did not offer an apology, saying the prime minister fully understands MDC frustrations over lingering issues.

Such issues formerly focused on Mr. Mugabe's reappointment in late 2008 of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono without consultation with his prospective MDC partners, and his appointment at the same time of Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

But more recently, Tsvangirai MDC officials have been disconcerted and angered by a series of prosecutions of party members of Parliament, in one case resulting in a seven-year sentence. The MDC suspects the judicial pursuits are intended to whittle down its House majority.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC move to up the ante with ZANU-PF is overdue.

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