Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tsvangirai set to become Zim's new Prime Minister

from AFP:

HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to become prime minister Wednesday, joining President Robert Mugabe in a unity government after a decade of struggling to push him from power....

"The sceptics must understand why we have done this and what is the best course of action to address the questions and challenges of transition in this political environment," Tsvangirai said on the eve of his swearing-in.

"We have made this decision and we made it without being forced. We want our colleagues in the country and outside the country to approach it from that perspective. It is our decision. Let history be the judge of this decision," he said.

His swearing-in will cap nearly a year of turmoil that began last March, when Tsvangirai won a first-round presidential vote that was greeted with nationwide political violence, mostly against his supporters.

Hoping to end the unrest that left at least 180 dead, Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off and left Mugabe to claim a one-sided victory denounced as a sham overseas.

South Africa brokered the unity deal, which was signed on September 15 but stalled amid protracted talks on how to divide cabinet posts and share control of the security forces.

Those concerns were finally addressed when the parties agreed to name co-ministers to home affairs, which oversees the police, and to create a new National Security Council that will allow all parties control of the security forces.

But analysts question how such an arrangement can work with the 84-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980 and who just recently declared that "Zimbabwe is mine."

"Tsvangirai's swearing in symbolises a new era for the people of Zimbabwe," said Daniel Makina, a political analyst at the University of South Africa.

"Whether the inclusive government will be a success or not is another matter," he added.

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