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Zimbabwe State Media Accuses Tsvangirai of Defying Cabinet Rules

Zimbabwe's state media is accusing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of flouting cabinet rules because he published a pamphlet about his ongoing visit to western countries without cabinet permission. President Robert Mugabe's office says the legality of the publication is being investigated.

George Charamba, spokesman for President Robert Mugabe, says he is investigating whether publication of the pamphlet broke any laws. Reports in the state media have suggested Mr. Tsvangirai was breaking cabinet rules by reporting publicly on his trip to western countries before he reported to the cabinet.

The pamphlet was published by Mr. Tsvangirai, apparently to present a positive interpretation of his meetings with western leaders. Most of its content has already been published by news agencies.

The media in Zimbabwe is dominated by state-owned enterprises all of which remain loyal to Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. They have barely reported on Mr. Tsvangirai's meetings, except for his failure to raise the approximately $7 billion finance minister Tendai Biti says is needed to reconstruct Zimbabwe's economy.

Mr. Tsvangirai said he was going overseas for three weeks to end Zimbabwe's isolation with western nations. However, while he was welcomed by the United States, Britain and European countries, all expressed concern that there are still too many violations of last September's global political agreement which led to the formation of the inclusive government in February.

Mr. Tsvangirai raised approximately $115 million during his three-week trip, largely for humanitarian and good governance projects. The money will be administered by the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.

The state media has, in turn, been criticized by the Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Project, which in its latest report says the state media continues to ignore the political agreement's demand for non partisan journalism. Media lawyers in Harare say that there is nothing illegal about the pamphlet in terms of existing legislation.