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Tsvangirai asks international help in Zimbabwe 'constitutional crisis'

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Zimbabwean prime minister asks for international help in constitutional dispute
  • Tsvangirai says President Mugabe made appointments in violation of the constitution
  • His party is waiting for a response from regional mediator Jacob Zuma

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has made an international appeal to solve Zimbabwe's "constitutional crisis" following President Robert Mugabe's unilateral appointment of some senior government officials, his party said Tuesday.

"The prime minister met diplomats [and] basically briefed them on ... developments in the country regarding what is evidently a constitutional crisis that has gripped the country," Elphas Mukonoweshuro, the MDC party's international relations spokesman told journalists.

The crisis was set off by Mugabe's apparent unilateral appointment of judges, diplomats, ministers, the attorney general, the central bank head and the national police chief. Tsvangirai said last week that Mugabe had made the appointments without consulting with him.

"Clearly there was a violation of the constitution in the appointment of those critical arms of government," Mukonoweshuro said. "It is now a matter of the region and international community knowing what is happening and perhaps that will create an environment in which a process of re-engagement can take place with a view to find a solution to the crisis."

He added that South African leader Jacob Zuma, who has a regional responsibility to mediate in the Zimbabwean power-sharing deal, had been briefed about the situation.

"We are waiting for a response from Mr. Zuma," Mukonoweshuro said.

A Western diplomat who attended the meeting said Tsvangirai had asked the countries and institutions to which Mugabe had posted diplomats to cooperate by not accredited the disputed officials. They were posted to Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, South Africa, the European Commission and the United Nations in both New York and Geneva.

Since Thursday, when the prime minister spoke out angrily about the president's actions, Tsvangirai and Mugabe have not met, even as the power-sharing deal that had brought optimism to the troubled country seem to be cracking.

"We hope they will meet," Mukonoweshuro said.

Before meeting the diplomats, Tsvangirai had a one-hour meeting with members of the country's civic sector, briefing them on the situation.