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Independent Presidential Candidate Skeptical About Zimbabwe Agreement 


The only independent candidate in Zimbabwe's March 29th presidential election says the new deal signed between President Robert Mugabe and main opposition leaders is not an all-inclusive government as speculated. Simba Makoni says he is concerned about the power-sharing agreement, which he described as a cumbersome government structure with positions that would not necessarily solve the country's problems. Makoni said both President Mugabe and the MDC opposition failed to acknowledge his proposal for an all-inclusive government, which he put forward when he launched his bid for the presidency.

Makoni adds that all dissenting parties in Zimbabwe should have been included in the government in order to have Zimbabweans represented in the government. From Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, Makoni tells reporter Peter Clottey that only time would tell whether the new unity government agreement would resolve the country's economic and political crisis.

"I have one big concern (about the deal) and they have agreed to form a very cumbersome government structure with positions whose real values to solving the country's problems is not apparent, but positions which are likely to be costly to the nation, a nation which is already in dire economic stress. When you take a structure of three people in the president's office and three people in the prime ministers office and 31 cabinet ministers, the value propositions of the people of Zimbabwe is not apparent," Makoni pointed out.

He said there is no room for his role in the new all-inclusive administration signed between President Mugabe and the opposition.

"If you are asking for my role in the structure that was formed through this agreement as far as I know is none. You are aware that my organization did not participate in the negotiations so did many other national organizations, which in my view should have participated if we were genuinely seeking an all-inclusive national solution. We should have gone beyond three political parties," he said.

Makoni said others with opposing views should have been involved in the agreement.

"What I'm suggesting is that there would have been better provisions for a more inclusive national leadership for national healing than just the three parties. There are other Zimbabwean national leaders who have important contributions to make or should be in that structure if it had been streamlined, it has been made lean and it had been made on the basis of need to deliver rather than need share spoil," Makoni noted.

He said soon he would be coming out with a new political party that he said would fight for ordinary Zimbabweans.

"We will continue to participate in the national politics of Zimbabwe. We will be launching a formal political party that would succeed the Marambo Kusi movement that supported my candidacy during the election of March 29. We still have a role to play ion the future governance of Zimbabwe and in the future leadership of our country," he said.

Makoni said with determination and commitment the government and the opposition could effectively work together.

"I'm sure they can if they mean it genuinely. It was very interesting watching the body language during that ceremony to read whether there was genuiness and honesty in the statements or not. But time would tell whether there is genuiness and honesty in the in there. What I would like to highlight though is the fact that not withstanding their total silence and lack of acknowledgment, what was done today, is what I advocated from February 5 when I launched my campaign for president of Zimbabwe," Makoni pointed out.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans are reportedly expressing optimism that the new deal would be a first step towards reconciling the nation after a testy political stalemate between the opposition and the government.

Reported cheers greeted the signing of the deal at a Harare hotel by President Mugabe, the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who leads a breakaway faction of the MDC.

The three smiling Zimbabwean leaders exchanged copies of the agreement and shook hands in front of South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the deal, and other African leaders.

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