By Ray Fleming

COLLATERAL damage from one of the explosive WikiLeaks cables has reached Zimbabwe. A conversation that took place exactly one year ago in Harare between the American Ambassador and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai was reported in a cable to Washington and its now revealed contents have led to accusations of treason against the prime minister by President Mugabe's attorney general, Johannes Tomana. In the cable the ambassador said that Tsvangirai had argued in favour of keeping sanctions against Zimbabwe in place even though in public statements he had called for their removal. Sanctions are one of the hottest political issues in Zimbabwe; the government attributes most of its economic difficulties to EU and US sanctions even though they are in reality little more than “restrictive measures” such as asset freezes and travel bans against about 200 people and 40 companies close to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

In the end the charge of treason may not be pressed against Tsvangirai but for some time evidence has been mounting that his power-sharing deal with Mugabe reached in 2009 is now hardly functional. Many decisions that should be taken jointly are made arbitrarily by Mugabe who in a recent speech said that power sharing need not continue beyond next August with an election to follow shortly afterwards. It is difficult to see that Mr Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change have gained anything from the power-sharing agreement.