Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is
expected to swear in opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister
today. The move is being hailed by many Zimbabweans as a major step towards
resolving the country's economic meltdown, which has brought untold hardships
to Zimbabwe citizens. Regional leaders revived a power-sharing agreement signed
last year between the ruling party ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. The deal stalled over disagreements in the distribution of
ministerial appointments between the ruling and opposition parties. Today's
swearing-in paves way for a Zimbabwe unity government when cabinet nominees
take their oaths of office on Friday. On Tuesday, Tsvangirai named a finance
minister to help rebuild the troubled economy. Political analyst George
Mkwananzi tells reporter Peter Clottey that many Zimbabweans are looking to the
future with optimism.
is quite a historic moment for Zimbabwe. A day in which many people in Zimbabwe
hold with great trepidation as they expect that a new era would be borne in
which most of the things that have bedeviled the country causing it to
literally break down might be opened up, and perhaps start a new life for the
Zimbabwean people," Mkwananzi noted.
said most Zimbabweans have a reason to hope for a better future after the unity
government is formed.
think judging by the amount of stipulation that has been seen or accompanied
the announcement by Morgan Tsvangirai that he was going to embrace this deal
and work with Robert Mugabe party in the new government under the global
agreement one would expect that this hope and optimism will continue to be
shown by the people of Zimbabwe. And the hope that things will come around and
improvement into their lives will come, will then be sustained," he said.
said the often tough and robust stance of newly named finance minister Tendai
Biti makes him suitable for the job.
me start by saying that perhaps Tendai Biti is actually the right man to have
been appointed to take up this job. Tendai Biti, you would remember, is a
combative, no nonsense man, quite suitable to handle a situation where there
could be some booby-traps set by ZANU-PF. You are perhaps aware that Robert
Mugabe has already appointed Gideon Gono as the governor for the reserve bank
of Zimbabwe. That is quite a challenge for a new finance minister who has to
ensure that the reserve bank governor has to be whipped into line and forced to
cooperate with the thinking line of an opposition finance minister," Mkwananzi
said Zimbabwe's economy can be revived by the performance of the unity
government and help from the international community.
to whether he (Biti) would be able to turn around the economy is going to be
quite a challenge. But it all depends on the good will of the international
community who are expected to respond positively. But that response is also
dependent on the behavior of Robert Mugabe as a partner in this inclusive
government in order to turn around the economy of Zimbabwe," he said.
Under former President Thabo Mbeki, South Africa came under international
criticism for not taking stronger action against neighboring President Robert Mugabe, but
insisted on its policy of quiet diplomacy as the country plunged into deeper
economic and political crisis. Current South
African President Kgalema Motlanthe, who played a pivotal role in reviving the
power-sharing deal, told his parliament that Zimbabwe's new unity government is
considered both inclusive and democratic.
says that he sharply disagrees with President
Motlanthe's claim that the much-maligned policy of quiet diplomacy
towards Zimbabwe will be vindicated by the formation of a power-sharing
do not agree. The quiet diplomacy policy that has been adopted by South Africa,
particularly under the leadership of Thabo Mbeki, has in fact delayed a
solution in Zimbabwe. We can't celebrate it when its coming around has caused
so much suffering. In fact, if it can be praised, it can only be praised for
having preserved Robert Mugabe as one of the people still retained in
government. Had it been more radical, Robert Mugabe would have been washed off
the course of the river a long time ago," Mkwananzi differed.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's Parliament
Tuesday approved a law that places Mugabe and Tsvangirai on a National Security
Council that will oversee all the nation's security forces, meeting a key
requirement of the unity accord.