Zimbabwe power-sharing deal struck

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has agreed to share power with the opposition after more than two decades as the country's unchallenged leader.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the deal, did not immediately offer details. He said the agreement would be signed and made public on Monday. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had told reporters the parties "have got a deal."

Mbeki has been in Zimbabwe since Monday trying to resolve the impasse over who would wield the most authority in a unity government.

For a year before that, he had been trying to bring Mugabe and Tsvangirai closer together, insisting — despite accusations he was biased toward Mugabe — that his policy of refusing to confront or publicly criticize either party was the best approach.

But others, including African leaders traditionally reluctant to criticize one of their own, had been increasingly impatient with Mugabe, who was accused of trampling on Zimbabwean's political rights and ruining the economy of what had once been the region's breadbasket. Neighboring countries coping with Zimbabwean refugees had been among the sharpest critics.

Tsvangirai's party won the most votes in legislative and presidential elections in March, but he did not win enough to avoid a runoff against Mugabe. An onslaught of state-sponsored violence against Tsvangirai's supporters forced him to drop out of the presidential runoff.

Mugabe kept Tsvangirai's name on the ballot and was declared the overwhelming winner of a runoff that was widely denounced as a sham.

Citing the March results, Tsvangirai says he should be head of government and preside over Cabinet meetings, while Mugabe should be relegated to a ceremonial position. Mugabe had shown little willingness to relinquish much power.

Much of Mugabe's popularity at home and across the continent is linked to his image as a proud African leader unafraid to defy the West. Tsvangirai, who lacks Mugabe's anti-colonial credentials, has said Zimbabwe needs to work with the West to overcome its economic and political crises.

A political settlement will free the leaders to address Zimbabwe's severe economic problems — which include having the world's highest inflation rate and chronic food and fuel shortages.

Foreign investors have been wary because of the political uncertainty. Western governments are poised to help with grants and loans, but will not deal with Mugabe, who they denounce as a dictator.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Sport
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
rugby
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
health
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral