Historic power-sharing deal to be signed today
Sources say the two parties in Zimbabwe are ready to shake hands
The much-anticipated power-sharing deal between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is expected to be finally agreed this morning, Wednesday.
According to well-placed sources, despite much-publicised major differences between the parties, the deal is now "as good as done," and a signing ceremony is set to take place at the Rainbow Towers in Harare this afternoon.
One source said: "As we speak people are being served with invitations to the ceremony. All the outstanding issues were sorted out yesterday, although there are one or two phrases that need to be polished this morning."
South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is brokering the extended talks, spent the day yesterday in separate meetings, first with Tsvangirai, then with Arthur Mutambara who leads the small MDC faction, and finally with President Mugabe.
Earlier Mugabe is thought to have had a series of meeting with his inner circle, informing them that some shared government with Tsvangirai was inevitable.
The major stumbling block in the talks has been the question of who will be in charge of state security, President Mugabe or Prime Minister Tsvangirai. Mugabe is said to have assured his security chiefs that they will be protected, and not "dumped in an all-inclusive government", said the source.
Yesterday, as the talks closed, Tsvangirai appeared optimistic, saying there had been "positive development." "Nothing has been concluded yet, but we are hoping that tomorrow (Wednesday) we will be able to look at the outstanding issues," he added.
Mugabe said simply: "We are finishing tomorrow."