Mugabe to Keep Major Powers Under Deal

Cris Chinaka, Reuters, September 12, 2008

President Robert Mugabe will keep his job and head the cabinet under a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe, but the opposition will have more senior ministers than his ZANU-PF party, an opposition senator said on Friday.

Giving first details of the deal reached on Thursday, Senator David Coltart said Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition MDC group, would be prime minister and chair a council of ministers that supervised the cabinet. The power-sharing deal was reached under the mediation of South African President Thabo Mbeki, who said details would not be announced until a ceremony on Monday.

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But there was widespread caution among commentators over how quickly the deal could end the crisis or persuade Western powers—deeply opposed to Mugabe—to step in with massive financial support to aid recovery.

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“The fact that Mugabe remains in power as head of state and head of government means the MDC is the one coming into this deal as a junior partner,” said Lovemore Madhuku, head of the pressure group National Constitutional Assembly.

“TSVANGIRAI SATISFIED”

European Union Aid and Development Commissioner Louis Michel said, however, that Tsvangirai had told him he was satisfied.

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Investors are already relishing prospects in Zimbabwe if the economy improves.

Shares in Zimbabwe-focused investment group LonZim (LZM.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) were up more than 5 percent early on Friday from an all-time low on Thursday at a time when a deal had looked difficult.

London-listed shares in Mwana Africa (MWA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) which operates nickel mines in the country, also rose 9.8 pct in the morning.

Coltart, Secretary for Legal Affairs in the MDC faction of Arthur Mutambara, said {snip} Tsvangirai would be vice chairman of the cabinet. There would be two largely ceremonial state vice presidents from ZANU-PF.

In addition, Mugabe’s party would have eight deputy ministers, Tsvangirai’s MDC six and Mutambara’s faction one.

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South Africa’s ruling ANC, also buoyed on Friday by the dismissal of corruption charges against its leader Jacob Zuma, welcomed the deal and congratulated Mbeki.

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