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Zimbabwe's PM Designate Morgan Tsvangirai Announces Cabinet


Zimbabwe's main opposition leader and prime minister-designate, Morgan Tsvangirai, has named Movement for Democratic Change Secretary-General Tendai Biti to be his finance minister.

A day before being sworn into office, Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai announced his cabinet of ministers and deputies. The cabinet is almost equally divided between the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

Tendai Biti will be the finance minister, who many analysts say is tough and principled enough to take on the powerful governor of the reserve bank Gideon Gono, who usurped most of the finance ministry's powers in the last five years.

Mr. Mugabe re-appointed Gono for an additional five years, despite the fact he has been in office while Zimbabwe suffered record - breaking inflation and complete devaluation of its currency.

Mr. Tsvangirai also named Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister. The white Zimbabwean politician is a former commercial farmer whose coffee farm was taken from him several years ago.

Bennett was jailed for eight months in 2004 after pushing former Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to the floor during a debate in parliament. He fled the country in 2006 to live in South Africa after he was implicated in an alleged plot to kill Mr. Mugabe. He only returned to Zimbabwe two weeks ago when prospects of a power-sharing government brightened.

The MDC's Arthur Mutambara is expected to be sworn in Wednesday as a deputy prime minister. He has not announced his three ministers and one deputy assigned during negotiations. however, many are speculating that Senator David Coltart will be chosen to one of the toughest posts: minister of education. Ninety percent of Zimbabwe's children are not
in school because teachers are not paid enough to get to school to teach them.

Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe signed a power-sharing deal on September 15, but the pact quickly stalled over disputes about who would control key ministries. They only agreed to a deal under intense regional pressure and after lengthy talks mediated by South Africa.

Mr. Tsvangirai is set to be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, with the cabinet taking office on Friday.

Mr. Tsvangirai is holding a rally in Harare to celebrate what many in the MDC believe is the beginning of the end of Mr. Mugabe's nearly 30 years in power.



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