Govt hails Zim deal
NAMIBIA has congratulated the "people and leaders" of Zimbabwe on finally having struck a power-sharing deal on Thursday, which is set to be signed this morning in Harare in the presence of several African leaders.
Although details of the power-sharing deal, brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki, will only be disclosed today, a South African newspaper, The Star, has published some of the key points. Mugabe will remain president and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is to become prime minister.There will be two deputy vice-presidents and two deputy prime ministers drawn from Zanu PF and MDC respectively. Mugabe will keep his current two deputies, Joyce Mujuru and Joseph Msika, while Tsvangirai will appoint one of the two deputy prime ministers, with the other one coming from Arthur Mutambara's splinter faction of the MDC. Mugabe will remain chairperson of the cabinet, while Tsvangirai becomes chairperson of a new council of ministers, from which Mugabe will be excluded. There are to be 31 cabinet posts, with Mugabe's Zanu-PF getting 15 and Tsvangirai's MDC 13, while the remaining three will go to Mutambara's faction, giving the opposition the upper hand.
A new constitution will be drafted in 18 months through a public process. The power-sharing arrangement will be reviewed every year; three non-constituency MPs will be appointed, with Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara appointing one each. The three will have no voting rights but are to "assist in the running of the government", according to The Star. Despite former President Sam Nujoma and other top Government leaders and ruling Swapo officials having called Zimbabwe's opposition MDC and its leader Tsvangirai "puppets" (of western countries), Government on Friday said the "successful conclusion of negotiations and the decision to form a government of national unity is a major step forward". Deputy Foreign Minister Lempy Lucas recently denied that there was a political crisis in Zimbabwe when she spoke in the National Assembly, drawing verbal attacks from opposition benches.
In an unsigned statement, the Foreign Ministry on Friday said: "The completed negotiations required a compromise from both sides in their search for a way out of the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe. The Namibian Government salutes President Robert Mugabe for his ability to work together with the opposition for the good of the people and the country. "We also applaud the efforts of Morgan Tsvangirai (of MDC) and Arthur Mutambara (MDC breakaway faction) as they have also put the interests of Zimbabwe first." The Ministry called on the international community to support the agreement and to lift all sanctions against Zimbabwean officials imposed by Europe and the US. Meanwhile, Mbeki will continue negotiating with Mugabe to redeploy some of the 10 provincial governors who he had already appointed, in order to create room for Tsvangirai and Mutambara appointees in certain provinces.
The three Zimbabwean political leaders met over the weekend to constitute a government ahead of the formal signing ceremony and announcement of the new government today. Long-simmering and bitter differences between the two sides and the nation's worsening economic collapse are expected to put the power-sharing deal under massive pressure. Hours before the accord was announced, Mugabe told a meeting of fiercely loyal tribal chiefs he would never allow the opposition "to govern this country". Also, it has been reported that the opposition has demanded control of the police while agreeing to Mugabe retaining control of the military. Both the police and military have been blamed for state-orchestrated violence and torture of Mugabe's opponents.
Additional reporting by Nampa-AP
Full text of power sharing agreement