Tsvangirai names Biti as Zimbabwe finance minister

Biti, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party’s Secretary General, will be charged with rebuilding Zimbabwe’s ruined economy and winning the confidence of Western donors and investors.

Tsvangirai, who agreed to form a coalition with Mugabe last week, will be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday under a power-sharing deal designed to end Zimbabwe’s political crisis and revive an economy in a state of collapse.

The joint cabinet will be sworn in on Friday.

Analysts believe Mugabe and Tsvangirai, two old foes faced with the prospect of working together, will appoint political allies rather than technocrats and economists who might have better qualifications for rebuilding the ruined country.

Appointing Biti, a lawyer and founding MDC member who fiercely opposed compromise with Mugabe, to the finance ministry could reinforce that view.

It also raises the risk of confrontation between him and Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono, a Mugabe ally.

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of southern Africa and one of the continent’s most promising economies but hyperinflation means prices now double every day, unemployment is over 90 percent and the currency is almost worthless.