Zimababwe Zanu-PF party dismisses Tsvangirai unity boycott

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF party has said that government business will continue despite the opposition party's decision to stop working with its unity government partner. A spokesman for president Robert Mugabe dismissed the boycott by the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai as "needless excitement".

Morgan Tsvangirai (2009)
Image: Harry Wad.

Tsvangirai and his party had pulled out of the coalition government on Friday, saying that Mugabe had been "dishonest and unreliable".

Spokesman George Charamba said to the Sunday Mail newspaper that "the MDC-T has disengaged from nothing. It's sound and fury signifying nothing. The MDC-T president knows that. It's a poor protest," he said.

Charamba said that Mugabe has been too busy with ceremonial duties to react to Tsvangirai's boycott. "I suppose the president will find time when the right time comes," he said.

The Sunday Mail quoted Charamba as saying that a cabinet meeting will go ahead as scheduled on Tuesday and that binding decisions will be made despite the MDC boycott. "As you will certainly see on Tuesday, cabinet will be held. The agenda for the meeting has been circulated and decisions that are binding will be taken. Remember, cabinet does not function through a quorum."

As you will certainly see on Tuesday, cabinet will be held.

—George Charamba

Tensions between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the MDC have been constant since the unity government was formed early this year. Regional leaders pressured the parties to share power after last year's disputed and violence-plagued elections.

The latest crisis was sparked by the re-detention of Roy Bennett, a white farmer who the MDC has nominated to be deputy minister of agriculture. Bennett is awaiting trial on terrorism charges, and already spent a month in prison earlier this year before being released on bail. The MDC has said that he is innocent.

Tsvangirai said on Friday that if the political crisis escalates further, the only solution would be to hold new elections under international supervision.