Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is There a Power Sharing Deal in Zimbabwe?

South African President Thabo Mbeki announced a power sharing agreement has been reached between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. He did not provide any other details other than to say the agreement would be signed at a ceremony on September 15th.

According to The Guardian, Tsvangirai will become Prime Minister and head up a cabinet consisting of MPs from both his MDC and Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

There is also an amnesty for the military and ZANU-PF people who participated in election violence against MDC members. Not a surprising development.

The stickiest point here is what powers Mugabe retains. Tsvangirai and the MDC had wanted Mugabe to remain as President only if it was reduced to a ceremonial position. That won't happen. Mugabe will chair a cabinet committee. One can only wonder how much power he will yield and specifically how such power will undercut Tsvangirai and his cabinet. It almost sounds as if there are two separate cabinets. In which case chaos will continue to prevail.

The best case scenario would have been for Mugabe to relinquish the Presidency and leave the country forever. But if Tsvangirai is named Prime Minister it would at least represent a start. Although I fear there will still be an ongoing power struggle between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.

We'll see what happens on Monday.

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