Zimbabwe gets the best deal possible (out of a bad bunch)

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has signed a power-sharing deal with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Here’s how BBC News breaks down the reported deal:

Robert Mugabe:

  • President
  • Heads armed forces
  • Chairs cabinet
  • Zanu-PF has 15 ministers

Morgan Tsvangirai:

  • Prime minister
  • Chairs council of ministers
  • Controls police force
  • MDC has 16 ministers – 3 from smaller faction

What I would like to know: who’s got control of the election commission?

One of the better reactions so far, from Wronging Rights:

Hey, you know what the African continent hasn’t got enough of? Power-sharing governments composed of the people who actually won a democratic election, and the people who said to themselves: “Hey, if I refuse to concede my obvious defeat in this election, maybe 6 months from now, following several rounds of shuttle diplomacy, a raft of traded accusations of genocide, and the complete destruction of my country’s economy, I can demand to be appeased by participation in a new, power-sharing government!”

I’ve wondered before and I wonder now, unity governments: good enough for Africans but not for us? It’s hard to imagine such a Bush-Gore compromise, let alone as a result of international pressure.

Even so, this strikes me as the best deal possible without further violence. Possibly it’s an unstable one, but it leaves Tsvangirai and the opposition in a stronger position than ever before.

The big victor is South African President Mbeki, who negotiated the deal. It’s not clear who would have been left to play honest broker had he succumbed to international pressure and denounced Mugabe.