MDC: Zim's cabinet too big

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party on Friday declared that Zimbabwe's new cabinet was too big.

So far 41 ministers and 19 deputies have been appointed since the unity government was established two weeks ago.

Commenting on Friday after a national executive meeting in Harare, the
party said: "The MDC national executive views the new cabinet as too
big and heavy for the country."

"In this regard, the MDC national executive restated the party's
commitment to a small but efficient cabinet to enhance accountability
and fiscal prudence."

The original power-sharing agreement signed in September last year by all parties – including Mugabe – only had 31 ministers.

However, the MDC did not say what it would do about the inflated cabinet.

Zimbabwe has huge outstanding debts and is in dire need of financial
assistance. Prime Minister Tsvangirai estimates that the initial
economic recovery plan needs a cash injection of about US5bn.

The party's national executive also reviewed the unity government's
performance and made public the growing rift between the prime minister
and President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC remained concerned about the continued detention of political
prisoners, fresh farm disruptions and Mugabe's unilateral appointment
of top civil servants.

"The party urges the inclusive government to immediately and
efficaciously address the release of all political prisoners in line
with the agreement by the three principals of the political parties in
the inclusive government," said the MDC in a statement issued by its
spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

Roy Bennett the MDC treasurer and deputy agriculture minister designate
remains locked up in a Mutare prison four days after he was granted

The attorney general opposed bail after it had been granted causing the judge to reconsider.

Next week Bennett is expected to appear before a magistrate's court to
answer to charges of illegal possession of arms for purposes of
committing banditry, terrorism and insurgency.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Tsvangirai revealed that Mugabe had
agreed to let all political prisoners free – either on bail or without

Mugabe has denied that he agreed to free political prisoners saying
instead that accused persons must go through the court process to
determine their fate.

The national executive also concurred with Tsvangirai's assertion that:
"The appointment of permanent secretaries did not comply with the
provisions of the constitution".

Again, Mugabe has dismissed the complaint as an "emotional outburst" prompted by the urge to "hear one's own voice".

The MDC called on the inclusive government to "immediately intervene" to

stop farm disruptions in order to enhance productivity.

On the disputed allocation of provincial governors, the party said there was progress and it expected new appointments soon.

The MDC demanded the "immediate swearing in of these provincial

governors to complete the formation of governors."

Another sore point was Mugabe unilateral appointment of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes

The MDC national executive demanded "immediate" resolutions to all
outstanding matters, which Sadc promised would be dealt with once the
unity government was up and running.

Mugabe has made it clear he was not prepared to sack Gono and Tomano.
"Why must they go?" asked the Octogenarian who turned 85 on Saturday.

The Times (SA)

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