Zimbabwe cabinet set to be sworn in

Morgan Tsvangirai to seal unity deal with Mugabe with installation of ministers.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai has vowed to rebuild Zimbabwe's shattered economy and end political violence [AFP]

The MDC leader has selected 14 cabinet ministers and Mugabe 15. The MDC splinter group, MDC Mutambara, has three.

Serious challenges

Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said: “[In the list of cabinet ministers] there’s nothing really new.

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The hurdles facing Zimbabwe

“It’s still the old guard and if they come back with the same ideals, the same way of thinking. It will be very difficult for the new prime minister to actually work with them.

“How will he put two different theories, two different groups of people together, how will they come out with one united front to help Zimbabwe to actually find a solution to the humanitarian crisis they are facing?
“He has a lot of work to do, a short time to do it in and people are saying it has to happen quickly or there is a danger that some of his supporters might lose patience with him.”

Isabella Matambanadzo, Zimbabwe’s programme director for the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, said: “It’s really critical that this government comes together and delivers together.

“We want to know that we can live in a Zimbabwe where we will not be tortured by our own security forces. We also want to live in a Zimbabwe where we have predictability in our economy.”

Control of the home affairs ministry, which oversees Zimbabwe’s police forces, was one of the sticking points in power-sharing talks between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

‘Willing to fight’

The key ministries of defence, justice and foreign affairs have remained under the control of Mugabe, who has been Zimbabwe’s sole president since 1980.

Tsvangirai has selected Tendai Biti to the post of finance minister in an attempt to control soaring inflation which has rendered the Zimbabwe dollar practically worthless.

A cholera epidemic is one of the most urgent challenges the unity government faces [AFP]

Biti, who has in the past been accused by Zanu-PF of treason, said that political unity depends on the actions of Mugabe’s party.

“There has to be mutual respect – we are not going into [the cabinet] to fight. If we do have to fight, we will give as much as we get. But that is not the spirit that I want to see,” Biti told Al Jazeera.

“The spirit is that we are going to put Zimbabwe first.”

Massive foreign investment is required to help rebuild the country, but western countries say that such investment depends on whether there is long-term political stability.

“Until the government of Zimbabwe could convince us that there were going to be free and fair elections, and at the same time that  there was going to be the removal of repressive legislation …  until these things happened, we could not treat Zimbabwe as if it  was an ordinary country,” Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister, said.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies