Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed a power-sharing deal with
the opposition to relinquish some of his control for the first time in
nearly 30 years.
Mr. Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara shook hands over the accord before a crowd of several
thousand in Harare on Monday.
The ceremony was marred by supporters of the rival parties trading
insults and throwing stones outside the venue. Riot police were called
to restore order.
Mr. Mugabe will remain president under the deal. Tsvangirai, who leads
the largest faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
will become prime minister. Mutambara, the head of a smaller MDC
faction, will be deputy prime minister.
Tsvangirai said the new government's first priority is to address food
shortages. Poor harvests and the world's highest inflation rate,
11-million percent, have made it hard for many Zimbabweans to feed
Critics blame the situation on the policies of Mr. Mugabe, especially
his government's seizure of white-owned commercial farms beginning in
In his remarks today, the 84-year-old Mr. Mugabe accused Britain and
the United States of interfering in Zimbabwean affairs, but he also
said he is committed to the deal.
The agreement calls for Mr. Mugabe to chair the Cabinet, while Mr.
Tsvangirai leads a newly created council of ministers. The president's
ZANU-PF party will control 15 ministerial positions, while the two
opposition factions will control 16.
The deal followed several weeks of negotiations between the MDC and the
president's ZANU-PF party. South African President Thabo Mbeki brokered
the agreement to end political turmoil that followed disputed
The European Union, which has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, welcomed
the power-sharing deal. But EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said
the bloc must review details of the deal before any sanctions can be