Mugabe snubs Tsvangirai’s calls in 1st cabinet meeting

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The all-inclusive Cabinet on Tuesday held its first meeting and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai did not mince his words. He demanded that Mugabe’s Zanu PF returns the rule of law. Tsvangirai is said to have also summoned ministers responsible for security and blamed them for the absence of the rule of law.

The 36-member Cabinet comprising members of President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, and members of the two MDC formations met for the first time in a government boardroom in downtown Harare.

While actual details discussed in the Cabinet were not immediately available, sources said the release of political detainees including the case of Roy Bennett, adeputy minister designate, were discussed.

Bennet was taken to court Tuesday and charged for attempting to commit terrorism; banditry and sabotage; conspiring to acquire arms to disrupt essential services; illegal possession of fire arms and weapons; and attempting to leave the country illegally.

Bennett had been custody since being arrested hours before the new
government was sworn in on Friday. The Movement for Democratic Change
described the charges as “trumped up, scandalous and politically motivated” and part of “a deeper political agenda” aimed at derailing the powersharing administration agreed between the MDC and the president’s Zanu-PF.

The court is expected to rule today on whether Bennett has a case to answer. The unity government’s first cabinet meeting was chaired by
Mugabe. According to MDC sources, Tsvangirai raised the issue of Bennett and the collapse of the rule of law, but Mugabe did not address it seriously.

Afterwards, the prime minister summoned the defence minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the state security minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, and the home
affairs minister, Kembo Mohadi, to demand they observe legality.

On Monday, the attorney general, Johannes Tomana, who the prime minister wants to remove for locking up opposition activists, ordered the police to evict white farmers despite a binding ruling by a regional tribunal that the farm confiscations are illegal.

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