Zimbabwe’s new government will have six executive posts headed by President Robert Mugabe and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who will each have two deputies, under the deal signed on Monday.
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and splinter opposition leader Arthur Mutambara officially signed the historic pact in Harare on Monday aimed at ending a ruinous political stand-off and nursing the country’s shattered economy back to health.
Mugabe (84), who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, will remain as president, with two vice-presidents to be named by himself and/or his Zanu-PF party.
Tsvangirai will occupy a newly created prime minister’s post, also with two deputies, one from his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and one from Mutambara’s MDC faction.
Mugabe will chair the Cabinet and the National Security Council, which includes the army, police and secret services, while Tsvangirai will chair a separate Council of Ministers and act as deputy chairperson of Cabinet.
Tsvangirai will also be a member of the National Security Council, oversee the formulation of government policies by the Cabinet and report regularly to the president and Parliament.
Executive authority will be shared among the president, the prime minister and the Cabinet as laid down in an amended constitution.
Deal mediator South African President Thabo Mbeki said that the unity government still has to be finalised despite the power-sharing accord.
”Some discussions have already started about the constitution of this inclusive government, [but] they have not yet concluded,” Mbeki said. ”I am confident that they will do so as soon as possible.”
International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Monday hailed the power-sharing deal reached in Zimbabwe, saying the fund stood ready to hold talks with the country’s leaders.
”Today’s power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe paves the way for a new government that can begin to address the economic crisis,” Strauss-Khan said in a statement. ”We stand ready to discuss with the new authorities their policies to stabilise the economy, improve social conditions, and reduce poverty.”
Mugabe (84) was greeted with some jeers as he entered the Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare for Monday’s signing. Tsvangirai was applauded by the audience, made up mostly of members of the opposition-dominated Parliament.
Regional leaders attended the ceremony in the Zimbabwean capital, with some having earlier raised deep concern over the crisis that they feared could have effects throughout Southern Africa.
Shortly after signing the deal, Mugabe said he was ”committed” to working with long-time rival Tsvangirai in the new government.
”Let us be allies,” said Mugabe. ”People will want to see if what we promise is indeed what we strive to do … We are committed, I am committed, let us all be committed.”
But the veteran leader, who had previously vowed that the opposition would never rule in his lifetime, also showed his defiant side, repeating earlier warnings about outside influence in his country.
While his rhetoric had cooled as power-sharing talks pushed ahead in recent weeks, Mugabe has in the past repeatedly labelled Tsvangirai a stooge of Western powers, particularly former colonial ruler Britain.
”We must resist those who want to impose their own will on us,” Mugabe said. ”Zimbabwe is a sovereign country, only the people of Zimbabwe have the fundamental right to govern it. They alone will set up government, they alone will change it.”
Meanwhile, riot police restored order after supporters of Zimbabwe’s political rivals clashed outside the venue of the signing.
An Agence France-Presse correspondent saw police separating hundreds of supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai’s MDC along a driveway leading to the hotel where the agreement was signed.
Wearing T-shirts and sarongs with their respective party symbols, they had gathered to welcome their leaders to the signing ceremony.
Witnesses said the two groups started singing songs insulting each other. The insults degenerated into stone-throwing, prompting riot police to intervene and restore order.
MAIN POINTS OF THE POWER-SHARING DEAL
Executive powers and authority
- The executive authority of the inclusive government shall vest in and be shared among the president, the prime minister and the Cabinet, as provided for in this Constitution and legislation; and
- the president of the republic shall exercise executive authority subject to the Constitution and the law.
- In the exercise of executive authority, the president, vice-president, the prime minister, deputy prime minister, minister and deputy ministers must have regard to the principles and spirit underlying the formation of the inclusive government and accordingly act in a manner that seeks to promote cohesion both inside and outside government.
The president (Robert Mugabe)
- Chairs Cabinet;
- exercises executive authority;
- chairs National Security Council (commonly called the Joint Operations Command, which includes army, police, and secret services); and
- shall be furnished with such information as he/she may request in respect of any particular matter relating to the government, and may advise the prime minister and the Cabinet in this regard.
The prime minister (Morgan Tsvangirai)
- Chairs the Council of Ministers and is the deputy chairperson of the Cabinet;
- exercises executive authority;
- shall be a member of the National Security Council (commonly called the Joint Operations, which includes army, police and secret services);
- shall oversee the formulation of government policies by the Cabinet; and
- shall report regularly to the president and Parliament
Composition of the executive
- There shall be a president, which office shall continue to be occupied by President Robert Gabriel Mugabe;
- there shall be two vice-presidents, who will be nominated by the president and/or Zanu-PF;
- There shall be a prime minister, which office shall be occupied by Morgan Tsvangirai; and
- there shall be two deputy prime ministers, one from MDC-Tsvangirai and one from MDC-Mutambara.