A deal has been reached between Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, and Robert Mugabe, the country’s president, who both agreed to share power. (photo, from bbc.co.uk)
South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who mediated talks in Harare for four days, said that the agreement would be signed and made public on Monday, but didn’t give any details.
Though Mr Tsvangirai has confirmed the deal, Mr Mugabe has yet to comment.
An agreement, saying that Mr Tsvangirai would be prime minister with Mr Mugabe staying on as president, had already been found between the government and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Although negotiations have been on-off since the end of July, they have stalled over the allocation of executive power between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai, who have been bitter rivals for a decade.
“We’ve ot a deal”, have simply been told reporters by Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who was the first to announce the breakthrough.
During a news conference, Mr Mbeki later confirmed that the two sides had agreed unanimously to form an inclusive government.
“I am absolutely certain that the leadership of Zimbabwe is committed to implementing these agreements”, he said.
Revive the economy
How many ministries each party sould have in a unity government and how much power Mr Mugabe should retain, were the questions that have deadlocked the discussions.
“Both political parties are committed, it’s our wish that the deal will be successful”, told MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa to the BBC.
The way for international donors to help to revive Zimbabwe’s economy opens with the agreement, says BBC Africa editor Martin Plaut.
And with inflation galloping to more than 11m%, the country is the fastest shrinking in the world.
In June, Robert Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980, won a controversial presidential run-off election with no opposition as Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew, saying the MDC was the target of state-sponsored violence.
In March, Mr Tsvangirai won more votes in the first presidential election than Mr Mugabe, but official results say he did not pass the 50% threshold for outright victory.
Mr Tsvangirai, citing March’s results, said that he should be head of government and lead cabinet meetings, while Mr Mugabe should be relegated to a ceremonial position.
Any power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe would be judged by how much it reflected legitimate election results, said on Thursday Gordon Brown, prime minister of the UK, the country’s former colonial ruler.