Friday, September 12, 2008

Peace for Zimbabwe?

Score one for South African President Thabo Mbeki. Despite those who scoffed at his attempts, he has managed to build a power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwe's rivals--President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The power-sharing deal ends a six-month deadlock as the talks managed to survive internal and external pressures. Despite the claims of Mugabe's blind backers, and the West's simplistic portrayal of Tsvangirai as a steward of democracy, there was never truly a "good guy" to root for in Zimbabwe. One was a freedom-fighter turned repressive autocrat; the other was an opposition leader with ties to elite Western interests.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's citizens have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. With a spiraling decade-long recession, inflation is at a staggering 11.2 million percent. There is a massive food crisis. And political violence has left the country divided. As I wrote in a previous peice, what the people of Zimbabwe want is a chance to have their lives back, to have their votes respected and a government that concerns itself with the public good.

Time will tell if this deal will bring stability, or if its just an empty piece of paper.

Details of the deal below.

From the Assocation of Zimbabwe Journalists:

- President Robert Mugabe with two deputies from Zanu PF;

- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with two deputies from MDC-M and MDC-T;

- Mugabe, as head of state and government, to chair cabinet of 31 ministers. To chair cabinet of 31 ministers;

- Tsvangirai to preside over a council of ministers, supervises ministers, formulates and implements policies, sits in National Security Council (JOC) and heads government business in parliament;

- Zanu PF to have 15 ministers and eight deputy ministers, Tsvangirai’s MDC faction 13 ministers and six deputy ministers and the Arthur Mutambara faction three ministers and 1 deputy minister;

- Provincial governors to be shared among the three parties;

- If an elected representative (MPs and Senators) dies or is recalled by their party 12 months from the day of signing, none of the other parties to the deal will contest the by-election;

- The "inclusive government" will remain in power for a maximum five years. A review of the power-sharing deal will take place in 18 months, and every year thereafter;

- New constitution after 18 months.

- Constitutional Amendment No 19 to be passed to facilitate implementation of the agreement.

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