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Zimbabwean PM Tsvangirai Again Snubs Mugabe Cabinet - Regional Mediation Awaited

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai again led the ministers of his formation of the Movement for Democratic Change on Tuesday in boycotting the weekly cabinet meeting of the national unity government in which he shares power with President Robert Mugabe.

Mr. Mugabe chaired the cabinet with 15 ministers from his ZANU-PF party present and three attending from the MDC formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Mr. Tsvangirai announced Oct. 16 that his party was disengaging from ZANU-PF though not leaving the government, thus would not attend cabinet or council of ministers meetings.

This followed the indictment and re-arrest earlier this month of Roy Bennett, an MDC senator and deputy agriculture minister designate, seen by the MDC as a provocation. Bennett faces terrorism charges that he and the MDC say were trumped up by ZANU-PF officials - the Office of the Attorney General and Justice Ministry are controlled by Mr. Mugabe's party.

Mr. Tsvangirai met Monday with President Mugabe and Mutambara, the three principals to the 2008 Global Political Agreement, in a meeting that sources said was tense and characterized by name-calling. They said there was no progress resolving issues troubling the government.'

ZANU-PF Deputy Spokesman Ephraim Masawi told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC boycott was of no consequence.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC said the party hopes the meeting called this Thursday in Harare of the Southern African Development Community troika on politics and security at a ministerial level will help to resolve the continuing crisis.

Secretary General Welshman Ncube of the MDC formation of Arthur Mutambara, minister of industry and commerce, said the power-sharing impasse is discouraging foreign investor interest - but he added that all ministers are attending to their portfolios.

Mr. Tsvangirai met with representatives of civic organizations and sought their support in his effort to obtain full compliance by ZANU-PF with the power-sharing agreement.

He briefed some 50 civic activists at his party's Harvest House offices in central Harare about his meeting on Monday with President Mugabe and Mutambara.

Sidney Chisi, a spokesman for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that Mr. Tsvangirai asked them to “amplify the voice of the voiceless."

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