Zimbabwe’s political leaders will sign a power-sharing deal on Monday morning that brings months of deliberations, since Zimbabweans went to the polls on March 29, to an end. Robert Mugabe will remain the country’s president but will share the leadership of the country with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who will be appointed as Prime Minister.
The deal was brokered by South African president Thabo Mbeki, who asked that the arrangement be respected as “a deal made in Zimbabwe by the Zimbabwean people”.
There are to be two deputy vice presidents and two deputy prime ministers, with Tsvangirai to appoint one of his two deputies and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a MDC splinter faction, to appoint the other. Mugabe will retain his current deputies. Of the 31 cabinet portfolios, Mugabe’s Zanu-PF will be responsible for 15 and Tsvangirai’s MDC 13. Mutambara will inherit the remaining three.
A new constitution will be drawn up within 18 months, with amendments to the current constitution effective immediately. The power-sharing deal will be reviewed every year. Tsvangirai won close to 50% of the vote in March but lost to Mugabe in a run-off when he withdrew from the race in June. Between the release of the initial results and the staging of the run-off, over 200 Zimbabweans lost their lives, many at the hands of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF security police.
For Mbeki, the deal represents a huge moral victory for his much maligned approach of quiet diplomacy, for which he has attracted stinging criticism both at home and abroad. ‘We have concluded the negotiations, and a deal has been reached. The formal signing will be done on Monday at 10am. The document will be released then,” said Mbeki.
The ANC, South Africa’s ruling party, congratulated Mbeki on what they called a “remarkable achievement.” “This is an important agreement for South Africa. The outcome of a peaceful settlement for Zimbabwe will bring a great deal of peace and prosperity to the SADC region,” said ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte.