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Friday, February 13, 2009

Tsvangirai sworn in as Zimbabwe premier

Wed, 11 Feb 2009 11:18:59 GMT | PressTV

Tsvangirai was swarn
in earlier today.
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been sworn in as prime minister, joining President Robert Mugabe in a unity government.

Tsvangirai took office at 11:00 am local time (0900 GMT) on Wednesday and is to begin work with his arch-rival Mugabe to cap nearly a year of political turmoil, which has plunged Zimbabweans ever deeper into crippling economic and humanitarian crises.

Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was offered the post of a prime minister following his disputed defeat against Mugabe in the March 2008 presidential elections.

After endless rounds of talks, mediated by South Africa's former president Thabo Mbeki, the two sides finally agreed in September to share power.

However, mistrusts between the two arch-rivals continued as they sparred over who should control key ministries such as finance, information and home affairs.

Concerns were finally addressed when Zimbabwe's parliament approved a law that places Mugabe and Tsvangirai on a National Security Council that will allow all parties control of the security forces.
The cabinet is nearly equally divided between Tsvangirai's MDC and Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Also on Tuesday, Tsvangirai named his party's top aide, Tendai Biti, as his finance minister.

Biti had previously been accused of treason over an alleged coup plot to overthrow the government. The charges against him were dropped last week.

The cabinet for the new coalition government will be sworn in on Friday.The new premier will face difficult challenges as the country suffers from hyper-inflation, unemployment of above 90 percent, food shortages and a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 3,500 people

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