A power sharing deal was reached last Thursday in Zimbabwe, opposition sources told me, and newswires are now reporting. South African President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the talks, announced then that the agreement would be signed today — with the delay scheduled presumably to allow negotiators to see whether donor nations find the deal good enough to resume sending aid to Zimbabwe.Sounds good, doesn't it? This is what liberal transnationalists have been urging for a long time. Let the Western powers stay out, impose economic sanctions, allow the M'beki government in South Africa to negotiate a settlement, and wait for Mugabe [who is in his eighties] to die.
Details remain sketchy, but it appears that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will become prime minister and chair a council of ministers, while longtime despot Robert Mugabe will remain president and head the cabinet. Mugabe’s party, ZANU PF will have 15 ministers and Tsvangirai’s party, MDC, will have 16 ministries (including three from a breakaway faction of the MDC run by Arthur Mutambara).
But, as Bate points out, the political settlement is largely cosmetic. In Zimbabwe real power lies with the military and Mugabe retains complete control there. The higher ranks are all staffed by members of his ZANU-PF party which will most likely continue to control Zimbabwe after the mad old dictator's death or retirement.
What seems to be happening is a simple charade being enacted for the benefit of Western governments in hopes of convincing them to lift economic sanctions and supply economic aid. One indication of how things will work under the new arrangement is new legislation regarding currency transactions. The Zimbabwe currency is worthless and only foreign currencies carry any value. The government has prohibited all but 1250 vendors from dealing in foreign currencies. The licenced vendors will then kick 25% of their export earnings back into the Party's coffers to provide it with a source of foreign currency. This is thugocracy at its purest.
Read the whole thing here.