David Coltart, MDC Senator for Bulawayo South
Zimbabwe deal: more details from Senator David ColtartThe bare bones of the deal are as follows. Constitutional amendment 19 will shortly be moved in Parliament. It will enable to the setting up of an inclusive Government which in turn will initiate an all inclusive process of Constitutional reform (which will include civil society). That process will last 18 months by which time a new democratic Constitution must be implemented, which will also include a time frame for new elections at some point to be conducted in terms of the new Constitution.
The inclusive Government will have Robert Mugabe as President with greatly reduced powers to those he enjoys today. There will be two, largely ceremonial, Vice Presidents from Zanu PF.
Morgan Tsvangirai will be Prime Minister. Although he does not have absolute power he does have substantial power. For example he will advise Mugabe on all future appointments including Judges, Ambassadors and the like. There will be two Deputy Prime Ministers, one from MDC T and one from MDC M.
There will be a slightly cumbersome arrangement for conducting Government business which is the essence of the compromise agreed to following the impasse of the last 4 weeks. Cabinet will be chaired by Mugabe; Tsvangirai will be the vice Chair. Then there will be a Council of Ministers chaired by Tsvangirai which will supervise the work of Cabinet.
The Cabinet will largely reflect the votes cast for the different parties in the March election in which Zanu PF got the most votes (if not the most seats), followed by the MDC T and MDC M. In a 31 person Cabinet Zanu PF will have 15 seats, MDC T 13 and MDC M 3. There will be 8, 6 and 1 Deputy Ministers respectively. Accordingly if the two MDC factions work together, which they must in the national interest, they will enjoy a majority in Cabinet.
This is undoubtedly historic but we still have a long and treacherous road to travel. Even had we in the combined MDC obtained total control the challenges are immense. The grave humanitarian and economic crises are enough to test any Government. The new Cabinet that will have to address these challenges is composed of protagonists – virtually all of the Cabinet Ministers to be appointed by the MDC T and M have at some stage in the last 9 years been brutalized on the instructions of those they will now have to work with. Zimbabwe remains highly polarised and it will take statesmanship on all sides to make this work.
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