Negotiators from ZANU-PF and both Movement for Democratic Change party
factions Thursday signed a 46-page constitutional amendment to enable
formation of a unity government. Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare
the signed agreement now needs to be approved by the principals of the
three parties, President Robert Mugabe and the leaders of two factions
of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, all of whom are
The extraordinary breakthrough in
the troubled inter-party negotiations came when ZANU-PF negotiators had
to accept that the version of the political agreement signed on
September 11 was a valid document designating the post of prime
minister for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
signed off on by the six negotiators, page by page, now has to be given
the green light by the three parties' principals who are all presently
However, constitutional experts say
there is nothing to stop Morgan Tsvangirai from being sworn in
immediately as prime minister, should he wish that.
Tsvangirai defeated Mr. Mugabe in the presidential election in March.
The second round from which Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew becuse of violence
against his supporters was not recognized by any regional governments.
Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC has a small parliamentary majority.
principals agree to the draft amendment it will then be published and a
month later debated in parliament and it will need a two-thirds
majority, and President Robert Mugabe's signature, to become law.
If there are no obstacles, lawyers say, a unity government could be in place at the earliest by January 15.
The amendment closely follows the original political agreement signed in September.
Mugabi is currently at a United Nations meeting in Qatar. Mr.
Tsvangirai is in Morocco collecting a human rights prize and Mr.
Mutambara is in the United States, on a private visit.
South African president Thabo Mbeki presided over the mediation in
September which created the post of prime minister for Mr. Tsvangirai.
Mbeki was appointed by the Southern African Development Community to
establish dialogue between the rival parties. His negotiating team
presided over this week's breakthrough negotiations in South Africa.
Chamisa, spokesman for Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC said despite the agreement
there are still matters outstanding. SADC officials have acknowledged
that there will have to be further negotiations to fairly allocate the
positions of 10 provincial governors after the inclusive government is
Nevertheless there is some relief on the streets of
Harare over this tentative agreement. There had been growing regional
pressure on the parties to end their disputes and focus on trying to
solve Zimbabwe's humanitarian and economic crises.