Zimbabwe has postponed today's
parliament vote on a unification government constitutional amendment until next
week in order to give ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) more
time to iron out their differences.
After more than four months of stalled negotiations, agreement was
reached last week to form a unity government headed by Robert Mugabe as
president and MDC opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister. Chris Hennemeyer is vice president for
communications of IFES, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, a
democracy development consulting organization.
He says that many
observers remain skeptical that Mugabe and Tsvangirai will be able to coexist.
of the issues that prevented the cohabitation from going forward late last year
are still in place. That is, Tsvangirai
still doesn't have the Home Affairs ministry under his wing and there's still a
lack of clarity on what a new constitution might say how governorships are
dealt with and how major decisions will be made," he pointed out.
order to resolve Zimbabwe's ten-month government impasse after ZANU-PF lost a
controversial runoff to the MDC, several options were available. Short of sharing power between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, Tsvangirai might have declined to participate in a unity
government, or an entirely new election could have been called. Hennemeyer says that pressed by the United
States, Britain, and the African Union (AU), Mugabe and the prime
minister-designate chose the power-sharing arrangement. He says that implementation of the committees
and institutions being set up to carry out the plan mainly depends on opposition
leader Tsvangirai's ability to convince the factions of his independent-minded
party to accept the benefits of the arrangement.
parliament is controlled by both factions of the MDC, so ZANU-PF, I think, will
go ahead with it and Tsvangirai has some serious hand-shaking and arm-twisting
to do to make sure that his people are fully on board," he said.
for its chances of surviving, let alone tackling Zimbabwe's monumental economic
collapse and a runaway cholera epidemic, Hennemeyer notes that the partnership
can only succeed with active support from foreign donors and powerbrokers from
the international community.
"From what we can tell from the
various leaks, it was a long and painful process getting people to buy in. I think what's going to help determine
whether this was a wise decision or not is whether with MDC's presence in the
highest levels of government, donors and banks and so-on will start letting
money flow to Zimbabwe. And if we see an
improvement in Zimbabwe's economic situation, I think the naysayers will be
proven wrong," he said.