Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai will today (Monday) officially sign an agreement for an all-inclusive government. The deal, which was announced last Friday, drew praise from all over Africa and beyond. South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the deal, said both President Mugabe and MDC leader Tsvangirai have unanimously agreed to a power-sharing deal to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis.
Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is one of the lead negotiators for the opposition MDC. From the Zimbabwe capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the deal represents patriotism triumph over political parochialism.
"What I can say in lieu of the specific details, which would be made available later today is that this is a deal that was agreed to by both political parties. It is not a deal made in heaven because we are still on earth, but this is a deal that is with good faith and good will on both sides, we can begin to chart the way forward for a prosperous, stable and democratic Zimbabwe," Mukonoweshuro noted.
He said there was a need for all parties to forge ahead as one people to see to the full implementation of the deal.
"I think that the anchors for all those things have been embedded within the deal. What is now left is for a resolute, determined, courageous commitment on both sides of the political divide," he said.
Mukonoweshuro said both parties put their individual interests aside for the good of moving Zimbabwe forward.
"Let me put it this way, the agreement represents a sinking into a common pool of the different political idiosyncrasies of the two political parties. It represents the triumph of patriotism over political parochialism. And I think that on that basis, the deal itself represents a commitment by both the MDC and ZANU-PF to close the chapter of instability, of polarization, of hate and open a new chapter as Zimbabweans regardless of their political persuasions, can begin to put the interest of the nation above everything else," Mukonoweshuro pointed out.
He said the new deal would not by design resolve the problems the country has been facing for the last decade.
"What I can say to Zimbabweans is that this deal does not represent an automatic panacea for all the ills that the country has been facing over the last nine or so years. Rather, it is a first installment of hope and installment upon which Zimbabweans of all shapes of opinion can reconstruct their lives. It represents a determined attempt to abandon all parochialisms and say we cannot let the memories of the past hold the future. Let's draw a line in the sand, lets move forward, we have learned our mistakes and lets not repeat them," he said.
Mukonoweshuro said Zimbabweans should be proud of the deal, claiming it puts aside partisanship in order to move the country forward.
"The negotiations were about healing the divisions that have bedeviled the nation over the last nine years. And therefore, the description that best suits the outcome of the deal in terms of the deal in government is an all-inclusive government. The government in, which political parties will go in as political parties? political parties will keep their identities, but they have decided that for the moment, lets work together in a joint project that would lay the ground for the future democratic evolution in terms of contesting politics in this country," Mukonoweshuro noted.