"Happy but subdued" about Mugabe-Tsvangirai deal

After six months of political and economic turmoil, and mass violence, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed Thursday to share power.

Twenty-eight years under Mugabe's rule have left Zimbabwe, once known as the "bread basket" of Africa, devastated by food shortages, poverty and astronomical inflation.

When, after the March presidential elections, results suggested that Tsvangirai's MDC party won more votes than 84-year-old Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, the government went on the offensive. The resulting campaign of intimidation and power politics only ended Thursday night, when South African President Thabo Mbeki announced that the pair had agreed to sign a power-sharing deal.

Details have not been announced, but it is thought that Mugabe will remain president while Tsvangirai will become prime minister and that their two parties will be allocated an equal number of seats in Parliament. The deal is to be signed Monday. Here are our Zimbabwean Observers' reactions to the news.

"There was a great deal of reluctance on Mugabe’s part in signing the deal."

Reyhana Masters-Smith is a journalist and human rights campaigner from Harare.

We've been waiting for this since Monday when Tsvangirai arrived in Harare, so we were getting a bit anxious that it wouldn't go ahead. Then an SMS went round from South Africa. We are happy about the deal, but it doesn't mean to say we agree with it.

Personally I think that although it's been signed, there's been so much intimidation that no-one dares to be associated with the MDC. Nobody's talked about the fact that while the TV crews pulled out of Zimbabwe months ago, the violence continued. It was very intense; really brutal. And we're not even fully aware of everything that's happened, it's been difficult to access rural areas. How do we heal from all that? How can we move forward? What kind of justice will be given?

So although the deal's been signed, the MDC's lost a lot of ground support, and that will impact the power shift. I hear that Zanu-PF plans to restructure at every level, which could lead to them getting a stronger grip at foundation level. Of course everyone will be scrutinising the relationship between Mugabe and Tsvangirai and their two parties. I understand there was a great deal of reluctance on Mugabe's part in signing the deal. But there was also a great deal of pressure on him - and at some stage he had to give in.

Everyone is happy, but so subdued after such a hard period; I haven't even seen anyone celebrating in the streets."

"This kind of change could be the best we could have had in the circumstances"

Daniel Molokele is a human rights lawyer from Zimbabwe who now lives in Switzerland. He works for the Global Zimbabwe Forum, an international pressure group made up those who have fled or been exiled from the country.

I am busy thanking God for the good news from Harare! This is a good window of opportunity for us as a nation, especially for the Zim diaspora community. I know that this is not necessarily the change we originally wanted but we can still use it as a good starting point for all of us as we try to take Zimbabwe forward. I know a lot of people wanted a complete overhaul of the Mugabe-led regime but it was not to be! But the good news is that in spite of its compromised nature, this kind of change could be the best we could have had in the circumstances. But what we need to do is to explore all the democratic space that might arise out of the new political setup.

We are together in all this..."

Comments

Mugabe is killing Zimbabwe

Already Mugabe has made Zimbabwe the country with the most citizens surrendering their citizenship in the world basing on Per Capita ratios. Singapore is second. Riots will start happening when the people of Zimbabwe can hardly find enough money to buy food.

Edmund Ng
CEO, President

Fish Tanks stolen in africa

I just know someone needs to do something aobut that country I tried starting a fish tank company there and got my shippment stolen twice at gun point. I cant believe how corupt that country is.

Embracing a crocodile or mounting on a tiger?

The all inclusive Government power sharing pact between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations is a positive step towards resuscitating the ailing economy in Zimbabwe.

The power sharing pact may not be the best, however there is hope it will create a platform for national reconstruction and healing.

It is hoped that the Principals of the agreement are genuinely committed and sincere to the terms of the pact; otherwise it would be just a ‘pie in the sky’ or a ‘window dressing’ arrangement that seeks to appease the ruling elite.

This is the second time that a similar pact has been adopted in Zimbabwe. In 1987 the Zimbabwe African National Unity - Patriotic Front (ZANU P.F) and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union - Patriotic Front (ZAPU P.F) parties, signed a Unity Accord which sought to settle political differences between the two parties. Similarly the recent pact also came after a wave of gross human rights violations and political violence which resulted in injury and death of civilians.

Most Governments of National Unity or All-inclusive Governments particularly in Africa have been formed at the expense of the general populace. Commonly power sharing in Africa is mainly not about solving economic and political problems but to end hostilities between parties. This precedence where conflicting parties in Africa resort the peace pacts or power sharing deals after failure to resolve electoral differences is a threat to democracy in the continent.

One question that may arise is, whether the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is embracing a crocodile or mounting on a tiger? The concern among other people is that MDC may cease to exist, as with the case of ZAPU PF which was eventually assimilated into the ZANU PF party.

As the new era unfolds, the people of Zimbabwe have their hopes on this pact to end the misery and plight that has haunted the nation over the years.

Small steps

It's just a small step in the right direction. We are not dancing in the streets though I believe that some of the opposition in the rural areas are talking of retribution. It is probably just talk. Others are quietly hopeful and more than a few are cynical - this is one devil we know only too well.

Like the USA and the EU we are waiting for concrete evidence of progress. Until then we still have a world record inflation (+ 10,000,000%), the black market exchange rate is flourishing and people are starving.

Better than nothing!

At least there is a deal and a new starting point; it has to be better than the previous status quo. Perhaps Mugabe is delusional, but he is now surrounded by real pressure, especially from within Zimbabwe and the African Union which is what really matters.

shame on Mugabe , the crazy

shame on Mugabe , the crazy dictator of Zimbawe .
Mugabe is a stupid racist and homophobic .

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