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Zimbabwe Government And Opposition Sign Power-Sharing Deal

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have reportedly reached a power-sharing deal that could end the political stalemate. Zimbabweans are expressing joy after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced that a deal had been reached. South African President Thabo Mbeki who has been mediating the talks is expected to announce the details of the power-sharing deal Monday. He said both parties had unanimously agreed to form a unity government.

President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are expected to officially sign the power-sharing agreement. Peter Kagkwanja is the president of the Africa Policy Institute. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from South Africa's capital, Pretoria that Africa should be proud of finding a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

"It's a beginning of a long journey towards democratization in Zimbabwe, and that signifies basically the recognition of the fact that the June 27 election did not resolve the governance question in Zimbabwe. And therefore Zimbabwe is still in a very difficult situation regarding the economic recovery, and also the region was not free of the insecurity that has been generated by the Zimbabwe crisis. Therefore, what we see happening now is a kind of a window of opportunity for Zimbabwe to start making a positive step to towards good governance, economic recovery and the region as a whole beginning to move closer to some regional security, which has been threatened to a great extent by Zimbabwe," Kagkwanja pointed out.

He said both sides could put aside their differences and the reported animosity that have existed to work together in order to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.

"I do think they can to a great extend if there is a political will. And I hope that the deal itself reflects that kind of a drawing closer together of the various factions and fractions of the Zimbabwe political elite. And therefore, we hope that the deal would hold," he said.

Kagkwanja said the situation in Zimbabwe far outweighs the individual egos of the leaders of the political establishments.

"One must point out that the Zimbabwe question is much larger than the political elite. One is talking about Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Professor Mutambara. Zimbabwe is larger than that. It would depend largely on whether major players in the west would recognize that deal as legitimate and bestow upon Morgan Tsvangirai the power and the legitimacy he deserves. It would also depend whether within Southern Africa, particularly South Africa itself, the deal is going to be legitimized as viable and a legitimate deal," Kagkwanja noted.

He said there was need for Zimbabweans to celebrate with caution.

"I think they do have something to cheer because there is also both the election, both March election and the June run-off left the country paralyzed and divided. For the first time we see the major protagonists in Zimbabwe, both the opposition and its two functions and also the ruling party being able to come together to forge a deal. And therefore there is a window of hope that things would move towards the right direction. But a word of caution is that I think celebrating the deal is a bit to early given the structure of the Zimbabwean political arrangement," he said.

Kagkwanja said Zimbabwe's state institutions are still run by agents of President Mugabe.

"Take for example the military and other key players as in the disciplined forces are largely in the hands of the ruling ZANU-PF. President Mugabe would still run the country in terms of the constitution, which is a kind of imperial presidency where it does not only control the arena, but also the economic and social arena," Kagkwanja pointed out.