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Zimbabwe President Mugabe swears in vice presidents
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09:25, October 14, 2008

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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabeon Monday took the second major step towards forming a cabinet when he swore in the country's two vice presidents at the State House.

The two sitting Vice Presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru took oaths of office and loyalty before the president in terms of section 31 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, local media New Ziana reported.

Vice President Joseph Msika is the first to take the oaths during a brief ceremony that was witnessed by several cabinet ministers and deputies. The vice presidents pledged to "well and truly serve Zimbabwe" in their offices.

They also pledged to be "faithful and bear true allegiance to Zimbabwe and observe the laws of the country" as well as, to the best of their judgements and at all times when so required, to "fully give counsel and advice to the president for the good management of the public affairs of Zimbabwe and not to reveal matters discussed in cabinet".

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) hugs with vice presidents Joseph Msika (C) and Joyce Mujuru after the swear-in ceremony in Harawe, capital of Zimbabwe, on Oct. 13, 2008. Robert Mugabe swore in the two vice presidents here on Monday.

Speaking to the media soon after the swearing in ceremony, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is also a member of the Zimbabwe ruling ZANU-PF negotiating team to the power sharing agreement, said the move was the second step towards forming a cabinet to drive the country which has not had a properly constituted government since the March 29 harmonised elections.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) holds the swear-in ceremony for vice president Joseph Msika (R) in Harawe, capital of Zimbabwe, on Oct. 13, 2008. Robert Mugabe swore in two vice presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru here on Monday.

"The next step is the swearing in of the prime minister, deputy prime ministers and cabinet ministers when they are named," he said.

On Friday, Mugabe announced, through a government Gazette, ministries that he allocated to the three parties in terms of the power sharing agreement.

In terms of the agreement, ZANU-PF will appoint 14 ministers, the larger opposition MDC 13 and the smaller one three.

Commenting on misconceptions on the appointment and assumption of office of the prime minister and his deputies, Chinamasa said that did not have to wait for amendments to the Constitution.

He said amendments to the Constitution, which are expected to pass through Parliament within three months, will make provision for parliamentary seats for opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to legitimise their positions.

On the deadlock in allocating cabinet portfolios, Chinamasa said according to his party the Ministry of Finance only remained contentious.

Chinamasa, however, expressed optimism that former South African President Thabo Mbeki will break the deadlock. "We will see how the facilitator will handle that. We hope the facilitator will come with fresh ideas so that we move forward," he said.

Chinamasa accused the opposition MDC-T of moving the negotiations backwards by re-opening issues that had already been agreed.

The MDC-T has denied that it agreed to the allocation of ministries, accusing ZANU-PF of wanting to control all key ministries.

Chinamasa expressed concern at the prevarication of the MDC, saying such an attitude would make operations of the inclusive government difficult.

"We expect that that behaviour and attitude will not go into the government when we form it," he said.

He expressed his party's commitment to implementing the power sharing agreement and to move the country forward.

Chinamasa stressed that the antics of the MDC would not stop ZANU-PF from forming a government as it wants the country to move forward. "Gazetting of the Ministries on Friday and swearing in of the vice presidents is a sign that the locomotive has been too long at the railway station and it is now warming up its engine towards delivering services to the people," he said.

Mbeki is expected to jet into the country later in the day and to convene a meeting over allocation of ministries on Tuesday.


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