Zimbabwe power-sharing committee set up

Harare – Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC have set up a joint committee to monitor a September power-sharing pact, a sign that the political rivals could be close to implementing it.\r\n

"It is the first structure to be formed in terms of the global political agreement and demonstrates the commitment of the parties to ensure that what they agreed to does come to pass," South African mediator Sydney Mufamadi said at the launch of the committee on Friday. 

Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC decided on Friday to enter a unity government with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, an opposition party official said.

The decision, made at a meeting of the Movement for Democratic Change’s executive, will put in motion a long stalled power-sharing deal seen as a way to tackle the deepening economic and humanitarian crisis.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to become prime minister.

With the local currency almost worthless and the world’s highest inflation rate, the government announced on Thursday it would let Zimbabweans use foreign currency. Over half the population is in need of food aid.

Regional leaders had piled pressure on both sides to implement the power-sharing deal they signed in September and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Friday his country was ready to help rebuild Zimbabwe once that happened.

"This stage is really critical in terms of achieving political stability and the first step towards the economic recovery of that country," Motlanthe told Reuters at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

The September 15 power-sharing agreement has been stalled by a dispute over control of key cabinet positions. Tsvangirai’s party feared being sidelined in a joint administration.