What chance for Zimbabwe’s deal?

September 11, 2008

President Robert MugabeThere have been so many swings from optimism to pessimism and back again, that Zimbabweans might find it hard to believe there finally appears to be a power-sharing deal after two months of talks.

According to both sides, President Robert Mugabe has agreed to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after 28 years of rule that concentrated power in his own hands.

The details are not clear yet, but it appears to be something of a coup for South African President Thabo Mbeki, whose critics had long said he was too soft on Mugabe.

As Martin Rupiyah, Director of African Research at Cranfield University in Britain, put it, though “I don’t think we are out of the woods yet,” pointing in particular to uncertainty over the role of the powerful security forces.

Plenty of questions remain – not least over how two men who have long made their animosity plain might be able to work together.

What do you think the chances of success are? Who will be the real winner? Will this be able to pull Zimbabwe out of its catastrophic decline?


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I am not optimistic unfortunately. I see this as ZANU-PF buying time. They will eliminate the MDC majority in parliment through their courts, motor accidents and the actions of “unruly elements”.

This is all about unlocking EU money for ZANU-PF and giving Mbeki an excuse to deport the Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa.

Posted by Will Rooke | Report as abusive

It won’t work long. I agree with Will, this is an opportuntiy for ZANU PF to stay in the game until they determine how to regain total power.

As a small Zim investor with Zim partners, I will wait and hope for the best before more investment can be secure. I don’t want it to melt like ice through the heat of ZANU PF control.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

Investors & Democratic Governments beware. Mugabe is an expert at this game. Your best answer is to wait at least 12 months before making decisions on investment and recognition. ZANU PF and Mugabe have to prove to the World that there is no turning back, keep the pressure on them!

Posted by Bennie Tan | Report as abusive

I agree that this will not work. After all, the main cause of the problems is ZANU PF’s stealing everything within sight and hearing. Even if Britain, US and EU give Zim money, it will only be stolen, not spent on what needs to be done. And of course, even if it is, nothing can be productive in Zim because of the level of theft. The only solution is for the government to permanently reduce its expenditure to what the economy can stand, but this would mean Mugabe, his cronys, and indeed Tsvangirai would have to live in mud huts and cook on cow dung fires for the rest of their lives. It just won’t happen.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

I agree – though Morgan did say that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ so we’ll have to wait and see. The security forces being in Bob’s hands was part of a bad deal, according to Morgan. Hopefully he hasn’t sold out his supporters – especially those who have lost their lives.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

we are hoping the new constitution in 18months will put the final nail on the ZANU PF coffin!and pave way for proper investment.

Posted by ahoy uba | Report as abusive

our major worry now is the state of our economy, the health and education systems. we need to revive them and we pray that this deal is genuine and all parties stick to what they have agreed to.

Posted by hazel maronga | Report as abusive

we just hope and pray that this is for real now we have been disappointed so many times before that belief will only come when we begin to see positive changes in our country.

Posted by hazel maronga | Report as abusive

[…] What chance for Zimbabwe’s deal? […]

Posted by Defencedebates’s Weblog | Report as abusive

Have to concur with the previous comments. I would be willing to bet that ZANU PF will have a parliamentary majority within the next two months – either through ‘accidents’ or bribery/corruption. People like that have too much to lose to just let go… I wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear of Tsvangirai’s death through ‘unfortunate’ circumstances in the same time period.

Posted by Teper | Report as abusive

What is Gods name are these people doing to themselves. Nothing but corruption and tribalism.

Posted by d tyler | Report as abusive

It doesn’t seem there is much optimism here — or among Zimbabwean analysts for that matter … http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL C588556.html

Posted by Matthew Tostevin | Report as abusive

As a Zimbabwean, I’m filled with relief, which at the same time doubles with skepticism. Having been in the evil game for 28 years, Mugabe has enough experience to manipulate, trick and swallow any opposition. However, there is a spark of hope that the situation will deteriorate at a slower rate that at present.

Posted by mwana wevhu | Report as abusive

I would like to maintain the hope at this point, honestly at 11.6 million percent inflation, any sign of relief would really make a difference. As much as they are key in the turn around, I also think expecting Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe to be solely responsible for the turn around would be a mistake. It takes all Zimbabweans to make this turn around a success. We need some serious paradigm shifts to rescue us from the oppression we experienced in the past which deterred us from standing up for what we believe in. Zims lets not sit and wait for these guys “It’s up to us now”

Posted by Leslie | Report as abusive

It all remains to be seen, whether its a good deal or bad. One thing good out of now is that there is an euphoria now, suddenly we got hope in this country, one thing which was long lost. A people without hope are a poor lot. Morgan has come a long way, and like David Coltart said, we might be seeing ‘the end of the beginning’.

Posted by mike saburi | Report as abusive

Those who ensnare others will be caught by their own traps. While everybody thinks Mugabe will trick Tsvangirai, he himself shall be tricked. God makes fool out of a wicked man’s plans.

Just wait and see. This is the end of Mugabe and his cronies

Posted by trevor | Report as abusive

This deal is a Power sharing deal between Zanu Pf and MDC in which Mugabe retains all real power to ensure the status quo remains if not to pursue his own agenda. In other words there will be no meaningful economic reforms – corruption and mismanagement will remain and there will be no land reforms. So as far as the ordinary people are concerned; the deal will make no difference to their economic well being.

Politically, the violence will hopeful end.

The reason behind the social revolt behind Mugabe’s recent declaring war on the people was the economic suffering caused by the economic melt down. Political peace that does not deliver the economic recovery will not last long.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

As a Zimbabwean I would like to believe that this is good news for Zimbabwe, but I would like to reserve judgement until I understand what role Mbeki plans to play should either of the parties (I’m not pointing fingers…) overstep the boundaries of the agreement. The AU and SADC are toothless watchdogs and are unlikely to stand by their agreement should it be gobbled up and spewed out by the likes of Robert Mugabe.

Posted by cecilia | Report as abusive

It saddens me to read this; there is very little hope in these comments. Were is the hope without it we have nothing. Lets try to see this as the beginning of the end of the Mugabe regime.
We all know the main reason Mugabe will not step down is mainly for fear of being prosecuted for war crimes the min he looses power. I have been alive as long as Mugabe has been in power. I hope my children are born to a new Zimbabwe, and have a chance to experience the beautiful childhood I experienced growing up in Zimbabwe!
If not faith, at least have a little hope!

Posted by carolyne | Report as abusive

i think Mugabe is clever because the power sharing deal will still make him in control and this will not make a difference,this is the same thing he did to Dr Joshua Nkomo.

Posted by Eric Moyo | Report as abusive

The winners are Thabo Mbeki and the people of Zimbabwe (both black and white).

The losers are:

1) The lying Western media (including Reuters, BBC) that continually villified Mbeki and told lies about the situation in Zimbabwe, concealed the existence of economic sanctions, etc.

2) The greedy white farmers who refused to sell land willingly and went on to undermine Zim’s economy in the hope of restoring control over Zim land (there will be no return to the era of 4,000 people controling 80% of the land).

3) The British government, which wanted to install a puppet in Zimbabwe and led the campaign of economic sanctions, deported black Zimbabweans despite claiming that they faced certain murder at home…

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Give us a break please lets give it a chance; Mugabe is a mere mortal – it’s been proven at least for now. Give Zimbabwe a break. It has always been a space of contestation. Everybody likes it! very soon the fight will turn to Morgan – Mark my words, all Bob wants is his place in history if you keep fighting him he will feel cornered and you know what happens when you corner an animal. Give him space to leave he will sooner than most would want in the end!!! Leave it to Zimbabweans now and life will go on.

Posted by Frontline | Report as abusive

Looks like the MDC have realized that they have to serve the interests of the Zimbabwean people and not white farmers or the British government. This is a welcome change:


Zimbabwe calls on Britain to pay for lost farms

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s new power-sharing leadership called on former colonial power Britain on Monday to accept responsibility for compensating farmers who lost their land during the country’s land reform process.

President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara signed a deal on Monday to end a political crisis exacerbated by elections earlier this year.

The deal, under which Mugabe relinquishes some of his powers to rivals he brands stooges of the West, proposes that the parties try to secure international finance to pay compensation to farmers.

“The parties hereby call upon the United Kingdom government to accept the primary responsibility to pay compensation for land acquired from former landowners for resettlement,” the agreement stated.

Mugabe’s government began seizing white-owned commercial farms in 2000 to distribute to blacks, a policy critics say ruined the agriculture sector.

Zimbabwe’s government has in the past accused Britain of reneging on an agreement to compensate farmers who lost their land during reforms.

The power-sharing deal called for a “comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan” land audit to ensure individuals did not own too many farms.

Critics say Mugabe’s ministers and supporters took control of farms that were initially meant to be given to landless blacks.

(Reporting by Gordon Bell; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)


Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Hazel Maronga

Your comments above expressed the precise position every Zimbabwean is in: we live in hope against hope! We all hope and pray that the deal will delivery on the economic recovery, etc., etc. But it is hope against hope because deep inside know there are good reasons why we are setting ourselves for yet another disappointment.

The chief reason why the present political arrangement will end in tears for ordinary Zimbabweans is the people were political powerless before the Deal and they still are now. The country has sunk into these nightmarish depths politically and economically because the people could not hold the country’s leaders to account. The deal has not changed anything!

In the deal Mugabe, grudgingly, conceded some power to Tsvangirai. He did not give an inch to the people. Mugabe has always treated the Zimbabwe electorate as fools who could not be trusted with the exercise of basic rights such as freedom of expression much less a meaningful vote. There is not a single clause in the deal where one could say power was conceded to the ordinary man and woman.

Tsvangirai does have to say it out, but he too has a very low opinion the Zimbabwe public. Tsvangirai agreed to the shutting out the Zimbabwe public completely throughout the negotiations.

Important decisions affecting our lives have always been made by a select few without an serious attempt to allow us to have a say. We have to hope the select few will serve our interests although we know they have never ever done so- indeed that is why they do not want to be held to account!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive