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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Zim Update 2.5.09

I have been holding off on talking about the latest developments in the political situation in Zimbabwe because it has seemed like it could fall apart at any minute, which it still may.

But I would be remiss if I did not mention what happened today:
"Zimbabwe's parliament passed a key constitutional amendment Thursday opening the way for a unity government after years of deadly political conflict.

The amendment was passed by acclamation in the assembly dominated — but only just — by the opposition. It creates a prime minister's post, which main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will hold in the proposed coalition government. Robert Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, will remain president.

Tsvangirai and the rest of the unity Cabinet will be sworn in next week. The government will bring together members of Mugabe's ZANU-PF, Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and a smaller opposition party."
There was some talk that some in the international community were hoping that the deal would fall apart after the Obama administration indicated that they would make a diplomatic push in the U.N. to outright oust Mugabe. They had even planned to try and bring Russia and China in to the process. That may still be necessary if this latest effort fails.

Tsvangirai and the MDC could have kept pushing for a better deal, and they would have had international backing to do so. However, the conditions for the people of Zimbabwe continue to rapidly deteriorate. Being in the government, even with an inequitable deal, will hopefully allow MDC to begin to stop the country's free fall. I am still skeptical that anything will really come from this arrangement, but I hope something can be done (Mugabe can't live forever - although I said the same about Fidel).

As long as ZANU-PF has complete control of the security apparatus in the country, I will be skeptical, but let's hope it works.

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