Mugabe and Tsvangirai In First Cabinet Meeting

Zimbabwe's new cabinet met for the first time yesterday and, according to a statement issued by Morgan Tsvangirai's spokesman, James Maridadi, discussed nothing of substance. Roy Bennett and Jestina Mukokos group were not discussed, even in the meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai immediately after the cabinet meeting.

The meeting was held as is traditional under Mugabe, at Munhumutapa Building in the Cabinet Room.

The statement says after meeting Mugabe, Tsvangirai then met with ministers in charge of security, including the ZANU (PF) heavyweight Emmerson Mnangagwa. Again, the imprisoned MDC leaders and activists were not brought up. Instead, Maridadi says the Prime Minister spoke about fresh land invasions.

The cabinet meeting was "cordial" and encouraging, according to Tsvangirai's office.

Meantime, as the story below says, Bennet appeared in court and was charged with four crimes. He is likely to be denied bail.

Mugabe has, I am told, advised Tsvangirai to stop attempting to spring Bennet out of jail now, saying it is better to deal with the matter at trial, where, Mugabe claims, the MDC deputy agriculture minister will likely be acquitted. 

Tsvangirai hopes this will then mark the final defeat of "the generals". But he is relying on Mugabe to bring all this about. Which, I guess, vindicates Mugabe's statement at the ZANU PF Congress in Bindura in December last year:

"We are firmly in control. We will not tolerate any nonsense from our new partners in government."

As of now, the democracy project in Zimbabwe is at the mercy of Mugabe.

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