Ministers from Zimbabwe’s ex-opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have boycotted a cabinet meeting chaired by President Robert Mugabe. The meeting, usually held on a Tuesday, was brought forward as Mr Mugabe is off to Libya for an African Union summit. When Mr Mugabe is away, MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai chairs the cabinet gathering.

CABINET MEETINGThe MDC deputy leader said it showed “contempt” for the power-sharing unity government formed in February. Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party “has not welcomed MDC as an equal”, MDC Vice President Thokozani Khupe said. She said the decision to move the meeting “reflects unilateralism, disrespect, contempt and refusal to recognise the reality and the letter of the global political agreement”, AFP news agency quotes her as saying.

“Is this inclusive government a government of hunger?”
President Robert Mugabe

She said the MDC had the right to consider leaving the power-sharing government. Mr Tsvangirai arrived back in Zimbabwe on Monday morning after touring the West lobbying for aid for the poverty-stricken country. He managed to drum up just over $200m (£121m) in aid, but not the $7bn the country’s finance minister says the country needs to revive its devastated economy.

Much of the money raised is not going directly to the government as donors are wary of sending money which could be misused by Mr Mugabe and his allies. But Mr Tsvangirai defended his move to join Mr Mugabe in government. “Those who accept me have to accept Robert Mugabe… If there is a problem, we go and fail together,” he told reporters in Johannesburg on Saturday, AFP reports.

However, last week Mr Mugabe said the unity government was not living up to its promises. “Our inclusive government came with the expectation that since we were all in this partnership, there would be aid from all quarters of the world,” Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper quoted him as saying. “Money cannot be found to pay those who are working. Not even the ministers, not the president,” he said. “So is this inclusive government a government of hunger? I had never received a US$100 in salary but this year that is what I was promised – not a single cent has come to me so far.”



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