The atmosphere across Zimbabwe's major urban areas after President Robert Mugabe swore into office opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister was more of relief than of outright celebration. Following months of backwards and forwards negotiations between the country's three main political parties, the fact that the politicians did finally agree to form an inclusive government infused hope for economic turnaround and a social transformation of sorts.
Naturally, optimism is high that the new government, which sees Mugabe retained as state president, Tsvangirai as prime ministers, and Professor Arthur Mutambara and Ms Thokozani Khupe as deputy prime ministers, will create immediate changes in the livelihoods of ordinary people.
Analysts, however, have cautioned that there are no quick fixes, and several variables would determine the success--or lack thereof--of a political solution that is roundly being hailed as a benchmark in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
The unstated question on many people's minds, though, is whether Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara will be able to work well together in light of the abrasive nature of their relationship in past years.
The chair of the University of Zimbabwe's department of politics and administration, Dr. Joseph Kurebwa, has said the state of the economy will likely compel all the parties to co-operate despite their differences. "All sides are showing real commitment. The signal has been that the economy is very close to collapse and they have all responded positively to that signal and I believe this provides sufficient commonality of purpose," said Dr. Kurebwa, who …