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Zimbabwe Prime Minister Tsvangirai Asserts Powers as Head of Government

A new dispute has arisen in Zimbabwe's fractious national unity government, over the proper division powers between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

When the government was formed in February a committee was set up to revise a Cabinet handbook setting out the roles of various members of the government – among them Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai.

This week Mr. Tsvangirai complained that five months later the committee, which includes members of all three governing parties including his own Movement for Democratic Change and Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF - has yet to produce the new handbook while his powers have been diminished as Mr. Mugabe has acted as head of state and government.

Mr. Tsvangirai in his communication to the panel – which was leaked to the state-controlled Herald newspaper – said Cabinet ministers should report directly to him. But the Herald citing unnamed observers called this an affront to the September 2008 Global Political Agreement based on which the power-sharing government was constituted.

ZANU-PF sources said Mr. Mugabe has no intention of giving up his prerogatives.

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to the prime minister’s office, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Tsvangirai was angered that officials in his government are leaking confidential documents to the press.

Harare political analyst Charles Mangongera aid the fault lies with former South African President Thabo Mbeki for mediating an ambiguous agreement open to abuse.

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