First the signing - then the street fighting
The agreement is signed - but violence breaks out yet again
Any hopes that this morning's formal signing of the power-sharing agreement, and the inevitable handshakes and smiles exchanged by our political leaders, would signal a new and peaceful Zimbabwe were shattered when opposing groups of supporters clashed violently.
Rival mobs, chanting songs, met in the streets outside Harare's Rainbow Hotel, in which the ceremony took place. Stones were thrown, and then fighting broke out with fists, sticks and other weapons causing several serious injuries.
I witnessed one woman, MDC activist Elizabeth Takaenda, taking a blow to the head from a brick. An ambulance took her and others to hospital. Meanwhile police vehicles were attacked and windscreens smashed.
Anti-riot police moved in after about 30 minutes, firing warning shots, although a police source told me that they had been instructed not to use too much force against the demonstrators. The gateway into the hotel was closed to keep out the crowd.
Eventually the Zanu-PF supporters dispersed. But to the delight of onlookers in this heavily MDC-orientated town, the opposition groups proceeded to march through the streets, singing songs.
The actual signing ceremony went ahead without a hitch. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the agreement represented the best hope for Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe typically blamed many of the country's difficulties on Britain, and was roundly booed when he suggested that the opposition had used violence to promote its aims.
Full details of the agreement have yet to be made public, but the broad outlines, as described on this and other sites, appear to be correct.