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Zimbabwe's power-sharing pact: Can rivals make it work?

Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed Monday to a deal that splits the government, but keeps the military under Mugabe.

Two men, one government: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (l.) signed a power-sharing deal Monday with opposition rival Morgan Tsvangirai (r.) in Harare, the nation’s capital. Swaziland’s King Mswati stands between them.

Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

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After nearly three decades in power, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe officially has a partner. The question now: Will Mr. Mugabe actually share power with Morgan Tsvangirai, a rival who has been jailed, beaten, and tortured by the nation's security forces?

After six months of stalemate and state violence, Zimbabwe's two major political parties signed a power-sharing deal Monday in Harare. The pact finally offers a path out of a crisis that's decimated this Southern African nation and left it shunned by many Western countries.

While the agreement clearly gives the greater share of power to Mugabe – leaving him as head of state and in direct control of the military and the intelligence services – it also diminishes, for the first time, the total control enjoyed by the ruling ZANU-PF party, and could pave the way for Mugabe to step down.

"The best path is cautious skepticism," says Roy Bennett, the treasurer general of Mr. Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), living in exile in Johannesburg. "The devil is in the details. The key is implementation, and we don't know how this deal is going to work in practice."

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