Zimbabwe rivals in clash over cash from IMF

The two main factions in Zimbabwe's unity government are in dispute over how to spend half a billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund, in a row that could create further tensions in the already shaky coalition.

The country's finance minister, Tendai Biti, of the Movement for Democratic Change, has earmarked about 50 million dollars of the funds for agriculture, a sector that represents about 16 per cent of the economy and a majority of the country's workforce.

However farmers, many of whom support the Zanu-PF party of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, say the government should spend the bulk of the funds on assisting new farmers.

Haru Mutasa, reporting from Mashonaland East (Zimbabwe) for Middle East news network Al Jazeera, spoke to one such farmer who said the current allocation of funds is a "travesty" and added that a failure to support the country's agricultural sector could lead to "social strife".

Alfred Mutasa, an economist from Zimbabwe, commented that the situation has heightened tensions between supporters of the two factions. He said:"Tension has risen precisely because Tendai Biti has been seen to be very obstructive because he has not been able to deliver,"

"People in Zanu-PF think he has been very obstructive in that sense."