According to a draft settlement released today , President
Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe would receive a ceremonial title as head of state and
“founding president” while opposition leader Mr. Morgan Tsvangarai would take
over the running of the country as Prime Minister. The settlement would also
guarantee Mr. Mugabe blanket amnesty for the atrocities committed by his
Zanu-PF party since he took power over twenty-five years ago.
Although it has yet to be finalized, spokespersons from both
parties seem amenable to the draft. The document will serve as the basis for a
meeting that is set to take place tomorrow between the two men under mediation
by the South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
Should the agreement be enacted as a formal set of
guidelines, Zanu-PF and MDC would split duties in an attempt to create a
bi-partisan, transitional government. As interim Prime Minister, Mr. Tsvangarai
would appoint two deputy prime ministers, one from each party. Zanu-PF would
retain control of the Ministry of Defense while MDC would control home affairs,
including police and security forces. A National Security Council would also be
established to replace the Zanu-PF military control over the country. In order
to encourage investment in the country, a number of ministries would remain “independent,”
with leaders from outside the two parties.
Considering the violent actions of the Zanu-PF party toward
the citizens of Zimbabwe,
allowing MDC to take control over police and security is likely to promote
peace as the country enters a more formal democratic process. A time-frame for
future elections is not included in the draft, but Mr. Tsvangarai is said to be
advocating for a two-year interim government to stabilize the country.
Amnesty for all Zimbabweans, including Robert Mugabe, is
likely to be the most difficult piece of the negotiations. Not only does it
excuse the Zanu-PF violence since the elections in March, it also forgives the massacres
carried out by Mugabe in Matabeleland in the
In all, the document is designed to promote equality between
the two parties and a chance to pursue a true democracy in Zimbabwe. AFJN applauds
the attempt to promote participatory democracy and supports the notion that Mr.
Tsvangarai would take over as the country’s leader. Though we are disappointed
at the prospect of amnesty for Mr. Mugabe, we recognize that the President is
unlikely to commit to a peace deal otherwise. We will continue to follow the
negotiations over the coming days, in hopes that the people of Zimbabwe might
be given a more just future.