September 15, 2008

Mugabe, Tsvangirai Sign Zimbabwe Deal

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai Monday signed a power-sharing deal after months of debate and negotiations.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mugabe will remain president and Tsvangirai, a former presidential candidate and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Party, will become prime minister, CNN reported.

Hundreds of jubilant observers cheered outside a Harare hotel as the longtime rivals attended a signing ceremony inside. The deal, negotiated by South African President Thabo Mbeki, marks a shift in power away from Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which has ruled Zimbabwe since the country's independence from Britain in 1980.

The new arrangement calls for the MDC to take control of the police but Mugabe will retain command of the army, The Times of London said. Two centers of executive power were created -- the Cabinet and a new presidential Council of Ministers, whose makeup was to be announced Monday, the newspaper said.

"We are on tenterhooks waiting for the details of the agreement in Zimbabwe and the shape of the new government that is being created there," British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told The Times.