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Friday, February 13, 2009

Zimbabwe PM to swear in his ministers

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 08:58:18 GMT | PressTV

Tsvangirai took office on Wednesday (February 11)
Zimbabwe's new prime minister is preparing to swear in his cabinet ministers, to act in the unity government with President Robert Mugabe.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai's premiership, effective since Wednesday, comes a at a time when the country is struggling with a deadly cholera epidemic, ailing health system, and an economy buried by a diabolical hyperinflation.

Mugabe has yet to name 15 ministers, to work with Tsvangirai's 14 cabinet ministers.

Although the president has kept key ministries of defense, justice and foreign affairs reserved for his ZANU-PF party, a co-minister of home affairs assigned by the new premier will be tasked to jointly oversee a portfolio that controls the police with a Mugabe-appointed minister.

Disputes over the results of last year's election in March ended with a power-sharing deal penned in September, but the agreement froze over the allocation of ministries.

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

Tsvangirai has chosen Tendai Biti, the lead negotiator for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in talks over the power-sharing deal, to fill the challenging post of finance minister.

Senior MDC lawmaker Giles Mutseyekwa, a top air force official arrested three years ago in a discredited plot to assassinate Mugabe, to oversees the police.

The premier has also named party spokesman Nelson Chamisa as minister for information and technology, and a white farmer and former lawmaker, Roy Bennett, as the deputy minister for agriculture.

However, the extent of cooperation between the two sides has given rise to new concerns, when security forces chiefs snubbed the inauguration of Tsvangirai as the new Prime Minister.

The country's police, army, prisons and spy agency chiefs were absent at Tsvangirai swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, a Press TV correspondent reported on Friday.

Zimbabwe army general, Constantine Chiwenga and commissioner of police Augustine Chihuri announced during last years March 29 general elections that they were not going to "salute the MDC leader even if he wins the election because he is a puppet of the United States and Britain.”

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