Months after the highly disputed presidential elections in Zimbabwe,
President Robert Mugabe (Zanu-PF party) and Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC party) reached
a power-sharing agreement on September 11th. Tsvangirai will become
prime minister and the MDC party will likely have more senior ministers in the new
government than Zanu-PF. However, Mugabe will continue to serve as head of the
cabinet and will retain some of his executive power, causing skepticism among
According to reports, the general feeling in Zimbabwe is one
of hope. Although Tsvangirai conceded some power, the necessity of reaching an
agreement to end the political crisis is for many a much more important step. “I am excited, and I have seen hundreds of other people
openly show their own excitement too, since news of the deal started filtering
in,” said a university lecturer in Harare. There is a sense that Tsvangirai’s
presence in the government will create some checks and balances, even if Mugabe
still has a voice.
Conversely, many Western donors and
investors remain deeply concerned about Mugabe’s position in the new
government. As a European envoy told IRIN News, “As long as Mugabe is in
the equation, especially as head of state, then our position on not providing aid to Zimbabwe
will not change.” Perhaps as a statement of reassurance, the mediator of
the talks, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, said “the rest of the world needs to respect” the decisions made in Zimbabwe.
The two parties will discuss the
details of a new government over the weekend and a formal signing ceremony is
to be held in Harare on Monday. Although there are significant difficulties in creating power-sharing
governments, AFJN supports a deal that is backed by the people of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is not Kenya, and Africa cannot continue to allow power-sharing agreements any time an election is
flawed, but it may very well be the best way out of the frozen election process. AFJN will continue to follow Zimbabwe’s governmental evolution, in hopes that the country will begin its transition out of economic and political crisis.