After months of a stifling post-election impasse, sworn Zimbabwean political enemies have finally struck a power sharing deal, brokered by South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
Making the announcement Thursday, Thabo Mbeki, said the negotiations between Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change and Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF had finally produced an agreement between the two parties. Without giving further details on the agreement reached, the South African president indicated that the deal will be officially signed on Monday.
Notwithstanding the temporary secrecy surrounding the details of the agreement, it is expected that the 84 year old Mugabe would retain his current position as president while opposition leader, Morgan Tvangirai takes the position of the prime minister, in a Kenya style coalition.
The talks resulted in a deadlock last month without any prospects for a settlement as both parties disagreed on key issues. Mr. Mugabe was not willing to cede any of his executive powers as president, making it rather difficult to agree to any form of executive power sharing deal. Tsvangirai’s MDC, on the other hand, had demanded a bigger control of the cabinet while firmly maintaining the need for transitional period of no more than two years.
Briefing the press, Thabo Mbeki said he was confident that the two sides would work together “for the future and and common aspirations of Zimbabweans”. He said the gravity of the political and economic crisis that Zimbabwe was facing , including food shortages and poverty, made it mandatory on the parties to work together for the national good.
The accelerated decline of the Zimbabean economy which has wrecked irreparable havoc to the country’s agricultural sector, is expected to be the government’s main focus after the deal has been recognised by the international community. Mr. Mbeki also encouraged donor countries and organisations to step in to support Zimbabwe and help it overcome the crippling effect of the economic crisis.
Donor countries protested Mugabe’s controversial land reforms and human rights abuses by withdrawing economic ties with Zimbabwe.