Mugabe, Tsvangirai agree to share power after a decade of bitter enmity

September 12th, 2008 - 3:11 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sep 12 (ANI): Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have agreed to share power after a decade of bitter enmity and a brutal election campaign that saw more than 200 opposition supporters killed.

Announcing the deal, which came after weeks of stop-start negotiations, Thabo Mbeki, the South African President who had been mediating the process, said: An agreement has been reached on all items on the agenda… all of them endorsed the document tonight.

The agreement will be signed at a formal ceremony in Harare on Monday, he said, declining to go into details on how the pact would work, although it is widely expected that Mugabe will remain President while Tsvangirai becomes an executive Prime Minister, The Telegraph reported.

The key question has been whether Mugabe would be willing to give up sufficient power to bring Tsvangirai, who came in first place in the first round of the presidential election in March, into government.

A MDC source said last night that under the agreement Mugabe would chair the cabinet, as he has long insisted, but Tsvangirai would chair a Council of Ministers, which would supervise the cabinet.

It remains to be seen how the arrangement will work in practice, and hanging over it is the shadow of the Unity Accord of 1987, when Mugabe brought his long-term foe Joshua Nkomo and his Zapu party into government after massacring as many as 20,000 of his supporters in Matabeleland, then sidelined him and created a one-party state.

But the MDC source said: Morgan’’s personal interests are aligned with the national interest. He would be finished if the deal doesn”t allow him to address the people’’s problems.

Peter Hain, the former Africa minister, warned: Mugabe has been a slippery customer for far too long and has a way of getting out of all sorts of things but I suspect this is the end of the road for him.

David Coltart, a senator and member of a smaller MDC faction, said: This is historic but there is still a long road to travel. Even had Morgan Tsvangirai been able to take over total control the challenges would be immense - the humanitarian and economic crises alone are huge challenges.

“The new cabinet will have to address these challenges but it will be composed of protagonists - MDC MPs and most of the cabinet members Morgan Tsvangirai will appoint have been brutalised on the instructions of those they now have to work with, he added.

In his determination to retain power, Mugabe has destroyed the economy, seizing white-owned land to hand out farms to his cronies, sending the country spiralling into hyperinflation and making it the world’’s fastest-shrinking economy.

Millions of Zimbabweans have left to seek work abroad, while millions of those who remain need food aid. (ANI)

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