Crisis Hits New Zimbabwean Government

Mugabe has incoming minister charged with treason
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2009 3:50 PM CST
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai reacts to supporters at a rally, after he was sworn in as Zimbabwe's Prime Minister by President Robert Mugabe in Harare, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Just 3 days old, Zimbabwe’s unity government is already in crisis, the Times of London reports. Robert Mugabe’s agents arrested a top deputy to new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and charged him with treason, unleashing fierce protests and more Western skepticism about the government’s prospects. Hours earlier, an optimistic Tsvangirai had told a Times reporter, “You are too paranoid about Mugabe.”

But the president tried to swear in seven more Cabinet members than planned; haggling and fistfights ensued. After the arrest of Roy Bennett, Tsvangirai’s choice for deputy agriculture minister, his party called the charges “scandalous, vexatious and without basis.” Tsvangirai is seeking $100 million in monthly aid, but one Western diplomat feared the worst. “This is not power-sharing," he said. "It’s a power struggle.”