Associated Press
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

What Does Mugabe’s Power-Sharing Deal Mean for Zimbabwe?

August 13, 2008 01:44 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, has reportedly struck a deal with a breakaway faction of the MDC, which leaves rival Morgan Tsvangirai out of the picture.

30-Second Summary

Reuters reports that Mugabe agreed Tuesday to a power-sharing deal with Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a faction of Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party, but “has yet to agree with main rival Morgan Tsvangirai.”

However, South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating peace talks, said negotiations are still in progress. “We have dealt with all the critical elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara agree, but there’s disagreement with one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai has asked for more time to reflect,” Mbeki said.

Peace talks begain in July, following months of political violence that stemmed from the country’s disputed presidential elections in March.

The terms of the deal with Mutambara were not immediately clear, according the Guardian, but it is likely to form a national unity administration that could give Mugabe control of the new parliament.

The newspaper reports that the MDC faction holds only 10 seats in parliament, but that those seats represent the balance of power and could keep Zanu-PF, Mugabe’s party, in control. However, “it is not certain that all of the Mutambara faction would support a deal with Mugabe.”

Furthermore, a plan that excludes Tsvangirai may not bode well for the troubled country, which is facing “economic ruin,” reports Reuters. Western countries that criticized Mugabe and his party, which has been accused of killing MDC members, are unlikely to approve of the deal.

“Morgan Tsvangirai is the main opposition leader, and any agreement that doesn’t include his party will not work for the country. It actually just complicates issues,” said John Makumbe, a Mugabe critic and veteran commentator to Reuters.

Headline Links: Mugabe strikes deal, but not with Tsvangirai

Background: Turmoil following original election; peace talks

Key Player: Arthur Mutambara

Opinion & Analysis: Can a deal without Tsvangirai work?


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