I thought that a deal would never be reached. Even though there is a deal now I remain skeptical as to whether it will ever work. As I recall the police said earlier that they would not accept an opposition win so it is difficult to see how they will now accept being run by the opposition. Anyway we will see. Perhaps the situation is so bad that even Mugabe supporters recognise that there must be power sharing and will co-operate.
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.Zimbabwe deal gives opposition Cabinet, police
Zimbabwe deal gives opposition control of Cabinet, police; Mugabe gets defense
MICHELLE FAULAP News
Sep 12, 2008 09:03 EST
Zimbabwe's breakthrough political deal gives the opposition control of the Cabinet and the police, who have terrorized opponents for years, two opposition officials said Friday.
That means overhauling Zimbabwe's draconian security and media laws will be a top priority for the opposition, the officials said on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been made public yet.
They said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 84, retains control of the country's military in the power-sharing deal brokered Thursday night in the Zimbabwean capital. It was expected to be signed Monday in the presence of presidents of neighboring countries, among them South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the agreement.
Mbeki said at a late night news conference Thursday that the agreement would be made public Monday. Mugabe has made no statement on the deal, and attempts to reach officials from his party were not immediately successful.
However, five opposition Movement for Democratic Change officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because of a media blackout, with two providing details of the power-sharing deal.
They said it would free the leaders to address Zimbabwe's severe economic problems — which include having the world's highest inflation rate and chronic food and fuel shortages. Western nations are poised to help, but much depends on whether they believe Mugabe has been sidelined.
Morgan Tsvangirai, 56, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, will get most seats in the Cabinet, 16 to 15 for Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, the two officials said.
Tsvangirai's party gets eight deputy ministries, Mugabe's six and one goes to a breakaway opposition faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
One official said the deal includes disbanding the southern African nation's feared Central Intelligence Organization, which like the police comes under the mantle of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and replacing it with a smaller, more efficient National Security Authority.
Tsvangirai broke a deadlock in the talks by proposing a new Council of State made up of Mugabe and two deputies from his party, and Tsvangirai and two of his deputies, the two
Tsvangirai will be in charge of the Cabinet and Mugabe will be in charge of the council, which will oversee Cabinet. Mugabe would have no veto powers on the council.
The council's role remains unclear, but it does give Mugabe a significant role in government, and apparently led to the compromise that broke the deadlock.
Two of the five opposition officials said some opposition leaders believe Tsvangirai should have held out for more power and the ability to sideline Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, and is accused of widespread fraud and violence.
In neighboring South Africa, however, news of a deal was greeted with cautious optimism among some Zimbabwean refugees, many of whom are eager to return home. Millions of Zimbabweans have sought a haven in South Africa from political violence and economic collapse
"Our country is beautiful. We want to develop it. We don't want to run away again," said Archie Tapera, 35. He called the power-sharing deal "one of the major achievements in the history of Zimbabwe."
"The international community should now assist in reconstruction, reconciliation and nation building in Zimbabwe," South Africa's governing African National Congress said Friday.
European Union spokesman John Clancy said on Friday that officials were waiting to get more details on the agreement on Monday.
The agreement was crucial for Mbeki's international standing, for South Africa's leader has faced growing criticism that his "quiet diplomacy" has only placated Mugabe and deepened Zimbabwe's economic meltdown.
Others, including African leaders traditionally reluctant to criticize one of their own, had become increasingly impatient with Mugabe. Neighboring countries coping with millions of Zimbabwean refugees were among the sharpest critics.
Tsvangirai based his claim to govern on winning the most votes in legislative and presidential elections in March. Tsvangirai he did not win enough to avoid a runoff against Mugabe. An onslaught of state-sponsored violence against Tsvangirai's supporters forced him to drop out of the presidential runoff.
Mugabe kept Tsvangirai's name on the ballot and was declared the overwhelming winner of a June runoff widely denounced as a sham.
The deal envisages the coalition government lasting between two and 2 1/2 years. It calls for a new constitution to be drawn up within 18 months and put to a national referendum. New elections should be held 90 days after.
Associated Press Writer Celean Jacobson contributed to this report from Johannesburg.
Source: AP News
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