Tsvangirai Says Zimbabwe Coalition Dysfunctional After Minister Arrested

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the arrest of Energy Minister Elton Mangoma “strikes to the heart” of the nation’s coalition government.

“There’s obviously a breakdown in the relationship between parties,” Tsvangirai told reporters today in Harare, the capital. “We’ve reached a moment where we’re saying ‘let’s agree that this coalition isn’t working. It’s dysfunctional.’”

Mangoma is a senior official in Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, which formed a power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front in 2009 after disputed elections. While the coalition helped end a decade of recession it has often come close to breaking down. The southern African country is meant to hold new elections after a constitution is agreed to.

Zimbabwe should make arrangements for an election under a roadmap designed by the Southern African Development Community so it can have a “clear, legitimate government,” Tsvangirai said. “It’s necessary for the parties to agree on a clean divorce and an election roadmap is the only way out. Mangoma’s arrest is nothing but a continued assault on the people of Zimbabwe.”

Mangoma was arrested earlier today by plain-clothed police officers under unclear circumstances. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he didn’t have details of the arrest when Bloomberg News phoned for comment today. He faced accusations in the state-controlled media that he awarded a fuel-supply contract to a South African company without going through a tender process.

Nullified

All fuel deals had been discussed and approved by the Cabinet, Tsvangirai said.

A Zimbabwean court nullified the appointment of MDC lawmaker Lovemore Moyo as speaker of Zimbabwe’s Parliament earlier today. Moyo’s appointment had been challenged by Zanu- PF, which lost a March 2008 parliamentary election to the MDC, forcing Zanu-PF onto the opposition benches for the first time since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

Tsvangirai said he won’t recognize the court ruling.

“We won’t accept the decisions of some Zanu-PF politicians masquerading as judges because Zanu-PF is just subverting the courts to regain what it lost in elections,” he said today.

Zanu-PF didn’t answer calls to their switchboard when Bloomberg phoned for comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nelson Gore Banya in Johannesburg at ngbanya@bloomberg.net; Brian Latham in London at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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