Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai made a first step toward a possible power-sharing arrangement on Monday, signing a framework agreement on talks. The meeting, moderated by South African President Thabo Mbeki, was the first between Mugabe and Tsavagirai in 10 years. (Reuters)
What the commentators said
These talks may lead to nothing, said the London Independent in an editorial, but “the fact that a meeting took place at all, that an agreement was signed, and that hands were shaken” is a sign of progress. Africa has offered only “pusillanimous condemnation” of Mugabe’s illegitimate June reelection, and this deal is a "first sign that perhaps an African solution might be possible.”
“It’s understandable that the African community likes this solution,” said Joshua Keating in Foreign Policy’s Passport blog. It ends bloodshed while giving token concessions to an “opposition who, after all, won the original election.” With “feeble” deals like this, and one in Kenya, African elections in which an entrenched strongman loses are becoming “just a starting point for negotiations.”
It’s telling that the deal coincided with the Bank of Zimbabwe issuing its first-ever 100 billion dollar banknotes, said the British daily The Guardian in an editorial. One of those bills won’t even buy a loaf of bread, and this Mugabe-caused erosion of livelihood is what really matters to Zimbabweans. A political deal, unless it removes Mugabe from power, "will be as worthless as one of his banknotes."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What is driving the increasingly weird behavior of the polar jet stream?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- Stop hating on cyclists
- Why America should team up with Bashar al-Assad's regime
Subscribe to the Week