Independent sources told The Standard that Zanu PF leader, President Robert Mugabe had agreed to the demands by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai that they share power equally. The development will see Mugabe becoming the Head of State, while Tsvangirai becomes the Head of Government.
Tsvangirai is expected to explain his position to supporters today at the party’s ninth anniversary celebrations in the Midlands provincial capital, Gweru.
Last month, Tsvangirai refused to sign a power-sharing agreement that would have retained Mugabe as both head of state and government.
But the latest arrangement, which could come into effect after Mbeki’s arrival this week would see Tsvangirai becoming the Prime Minister, in charge of the Cabinet — including the appointment and firing of ministers — and government’s business in Parliament, while Mugabe remains the President, in charge of state security and related portfolios. In the initial agreement, Tsvangirai would have been a member of cabinet and its deputy chairperson. He rejected this arrangement saying it made him junior to Mugabe.
"All Sadc heads of state appear to agree to the deal. The AU is saying the same thing, but the only problem is the wording of the agreement," said one of our sources. "There have been consultations between the negotiators and their parties and those issues appear to have been addressed."
A major area of focus, said our sources, was Zanu PF’s instruments of violence which remain intact.
MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa yesterday said Tsvangirai’s "signature is ready" once the outstanding issues have been resolved.
"Once those things are resolved, the signature is ready. The biggest task is what is ahead, that is, resolving the current economic crisis, creating jobs and ensuring the cultivation of trust among Zimbabweans," Chamisa said, adding they were pushing for an equal power sharing deal. "It is not about the outsmarting of one party by the other, but a genuine partnership rooted and anchored on trust. We hope Zanu PF will not be unnecessarily rigid and inflexible to delay a settlement."
The concessions by Mugabe came in the face of renewed opposition from Canada, Australia and the US to Zanu PF’s intention to scuttle the idea of a transitional government/government of national unity and go ahead with formation of a Cabinet.
There was a swift and decisive response from America, Australia and Canada.
US Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer told reporters in Swaziland on Friday that if Mugabe followed through on his threat such a cabinet would be "a sham".
Members of such a Cabinet, Frazer said, could be subject to US sanctions. Washington has been among Mugabe’s sharpest critics, accusing him of trampling on democracy and ruining his country’s economy.
"We believe that instead of trying to appoint a Cabinet, they should negotiate on the basis of the will of the people that was expressed in the March elections," Frazer said.
Canada stepped up pressure on Mugabe on Friday when it joined the US and European Union in imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe’s "authoritarian regime" headed by Mugabe.
Canada said the measures announced Friday "go further toward isolating and maintaining pressure on key members of the Zimbabwe regime".
Canada is banning arms exports, freezing the assets of top Zimbabwean officials and banning Zimbabwean aircraft from flying over or landing in Canada.
On Friday British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr Andrew Pocock, told the annual awards dinner for The Standard’s Cover to Cover Short Story Writing Competition in Harare that the international community was on standby to provide assistance to Zimbabwe. But he said there was no way recovery could take place without a political context.
"We remain committed to putting in whatever we need to power that recovery, provided we get the political context in which we can do that," he said. "Zimbabwe needs billions of dollars for the recovery of education, health, power and water… we can help."
The US, along with Britain and France, spearheaded a UN Security Council drive in July for sanctions, but the initiative was vetoed by Russia and China.
The African Union considers a government of national unity the best possible way of averting total economic collapse in Zimbabwe.
But the pressure is not just on Mugabe. FIFA secretary general, Jerome Valcke has in past weeks expressed deep concern over the situation in Zimbabwe to the SA organising committee.
"There is concern over the security situation in the Sadc region because of the political situation in Zimbabwe and questions are being asked on whether this presents a conducive environment for hosting the tournament (2010 World Cup)," Valcke said.
Mbeki’s last hope, it would appear, lies in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis before Fifa announces an alternative host - a move that would have potentially career-ending consequences for Mbeki in SA, especially after so much has been invested in preparing the venues for the world cup.
But Mugabe has his own pressures to contend with. After China and Russia vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution, an unresolved political crisis in Zimbabwe would make it difficult for him to travel to the UN General Assembly next month.
By Vusumuzi Sifile/Davison Maruziva
HARE KRISHNA TEMPLE -Dancing ,Chanting vegie ,soul food every wednesday 5.30 pm @ 108 high street plaistow london E13 0AP
ERITREA CULTURAL CELEBRATIONS UK [CONTINUATION]
Usual meal pattern: Three times a day. Breakfast is very light, lunch and dinner are the major meals. Usually prefer food very spicy.
Special Utensils: Usual mode of eating Eritrean food is with fingers; however, silverware is used for other types of food
Food beliefs and rituals: Prefer warm and soothing foods when ill such as chicken or beef soups, hot oat gruel with honey, hot tea, hot milk. No ice or cold drinks.
Food prohibitions: There are considerable numbers of food avoidances that persist among different ethnic, social, occupational, religious, age, and gender groups. Coptic Orthodox Christians and Moslems strictly observed religious taboos that forbid eating meat ofwild animals, wild foul, snakes, wild and domestic pigs, dogs, horses, and shellfish. Coptic Christians do not eat meat or dairy for 200 days of each year. Food prescriptions. Preferences are chicken or beef soups, noodles and pasta, traditional hot oat gruel with honey. Most do not like bland foods.
Usual diet: Usual diet consists of "Taita" or "enjera", a type of bread or pancake eaten with a meat or legume sauce or stew walled "Tsebhi" or "zigni." Taita is made mostly from cereal called "Taff"; however a mixture of cereals can be used to make taita. Legumes are an important part of the diet and are largely prepared in the form of stew or wot. Stew usually is very spicy and contains a variety of condiments, including onions, garlic, berbere (hot chili powder with other spices, cardamom, white and black cumin, basil, ginger, etc.).Fruits and vegetables are not commonly eaten, except in some of the larger towns and during the period of religious fasting
pHOTOS: ayoub mzee