Cautious optimism over new deal in Zimbabwe

Comment by Amanda Hammar, 15 September 2008

After a gruelling eight years of deep crisis and bitter polarisation in Zimbabwe, a timely agreement was signed on Monday 15 September between the main political players. These include, with their new titles, President Robert Mugabe from Zanu (PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (from the main faction of the MDC), and Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara (from the breakaway smaller faction of the MDC).

While the broad details of the agreement have now been formalised through the signing ceremony in Harare witnessed by 3,000 invited guests, the more intricate details of the new transitional government structures and procedures have yet to be revealed or indeed worked out. In the meantime, ordinary Zimbabweans both inside and outside the country are cautious in their optimism. There is certainly the hope that the worst must now surely be over in terms of both the economic and political violence so many have endured for so long. But rather than jubilant celebration, as people continue to struggle to survive under conditions of extreme crisis, there is more a weary curiosity about what the signing of the New Deal will mean for whom.

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