Is there a Deal?

I have been in Harare for a few days and therefore been away from my desk. However just back in paradise and thought I should pen a short note to you all to bring you up to date with all that is going on in our Capital City. I expect this will be public knowledge shortly and that you will hear via the media what has now been agreed.

First, it looks as if a deal might actually emerge from the present round of negotiations. They have been tough - I saw Tendai Biti yesterday and he looked as if an entire herd of buffalo had run over him! President Tsvangirai looked as fresh as a daisy despite the pressure - his resilience is legendary. They told me that a deal was possible and said they had put forward proposals the previous day that might break the deadlock.

I cannot disclose the details for obvious reasons but I would just say that while we have conceded some ground, the fundamentals have been protected and are in place - can we make the agreement work? That depends on everyone.

We should hear today that a deal is in place - perhaps on Friday and a signing ceremony will take place shortly thereafter. Then we have a mountain to climb it terms of putting the country back together. I can also say, without disclosing anything that I should not disclose, that we have been hard at work for many months preparing for this moment. I think we are just about ready and I think the situation is very exciting.

Certainly this time round the commitment of President Mbeki has been total and he has said he is here until this deal is closed. I have had a bottle of the bubbly stuff since 2000; I think its time to put it on ice.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 11th September 2008