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Zimbabwe Cabinet Gives Unity Gov't Principals Ultimatum To Resolve Disputes

Zimbabwe's power-sharing cabinet issued an ultimatum Wednesday to the three principals in the national unity government to resolve numerous issues that have been straining relations between the Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF sides of the government.

MDC and ZANU-PF sources told VOA that Wednesday’s cabinet meeting was tense with extended and heated debate as members from the MDC formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai clashed with their ZANU-PF counterparts. The latter were said to have been agitated over last week’s MDC boycott of a cabinet meeting.

The MDC raised the stakes this week demanding compliance in full with the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008 by President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai and now-Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. Senior members of the Tsvangirai MDC formation accused ZANU-PF of attempting to torpedo the unity government.

Contentious issues include an ongoing judicial crackdown on MDC and civic activists, the delay in swearing in MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister, the appointments of provincial governors and the failure of the National Security Council to convene.

Government sources said the three principals will brief the cabinet next Tuesday on how much time they will need to settle the outstanding issues.

From Johannesburg, human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the principals must resolve the issues which continue to jeopardize the longevity of the unity government.

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