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Published 19th September 2008

Vol 49 No 19


Zimbabwe

A three-legged race

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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After months of tense negotiations, Morgan Tsvangirai has settled for much less than his supporters voted for

The agreement reached in Harare on 15 September may not be what Zimbabweans wanted, but it was the best the negotiators could get after various governments had tried to prod President Robert Mugabe into making more concessions. Now Mugabe remains President, with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and his former colleague Arthur Mutambara as his Deputy. Mugabe’s powers will be whittled down but not radically altered in the new arrangement. It is a weak and ambiguous agreement whose terms include many discretionary provisions – an ideal arena for political obstruction.


Political theatre

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara have signed the power-sharing agreement but can it really work?

Amid the euphoria and impeccably presented theatre of the signing of the Zimbabwe power-sharing agreement on 15 September, only a Jeremiah would have warned that Monday’s child is ...


Deals after the deal

The businessmen and bankers are ready but donors will adopt a wait-and-see aproach

Private companies may move faster than Western governments, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in returning to Zimbabwe after the political deal. There are plans for hu...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

As President Thabo Mbeki was announcing the power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe on 12 September, a judge in Pietermaritzburg was accusing him of political meddling in South Africa’s judicial system. The paradox continued three days later: when Mbeki and hundreds of other African dignitaries were celebrating the deal signing in Harare, Mbeki’s party was debating how to force him out of office. Mbeki needs the Zimbabwe deal to work. It might prove to be his last significant act as President. Many of...
As President Thabo Mbeki was announcing the power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe on 12 September, a judge in Pietermaritzburg was accusing him of political meddling in South Africa’s judicial system. The paradox continued three days later: when Mbeki and hundreds of other African dignitaries were celebrating the deal signing in Harare, Mbeki’s party was debating how to force him out of office. Mbeki needs the Zimbabwe deal to work. It might prove to be his last significant act as President. Many of Mbeki’s brighter moments have been outside South Africa, reforming the old Organisation of African Unity and mediating peace deals in Congo. He has consistently promoted governments of national unity as a solution to political crises – even when one of the parties had mobilised soldiers, killed opponents and stolen the vote. Born in the transition from apartheid, South Africa’s exported power-sharing doctrine has had mixed results. It kept the lid on the crisis in Congo-Kinshasa, where conditions have worsened after competitive elections two years ago. Kenya is struggling with its power-sharing deal, which is held together mainly by the self-interest of the participating politicians and the business class. In Zimbabwe, the politicians are as far apart as in Congo or Kenya, the economy is much worse and outsiders have little leverage on events. As Mbeki fights for survival at home, his political model faces its sternest test yet.
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Stand and deliver

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