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By Fiona Forde
Under a gracious exit plan, Robert Mugabe will become Zimbabwe's ceremonial president during the forthcoming transition, after which he will retire as the Founding President and father of the beleaguered nation, protected under a blanket amnesty.
According to a draft settlement, in the possession of The Star, Morgan Tsvangirai will run the country as the new executive prime minister in a transitional government that will pave the way for fresh elections in the future.
The 50-page plus draft was circulated between the two rivals when they circumnavigated the Pretoria talks two weeks ago and liaised indirectly with one another in Harare via intermediaries.
The draft agreement will also provide the basis of the face-to-face meeting between the two men in Zimbabwean capital tomorrow, which will be facilitated by President Thabo Mbeki.
Although there is still no deal on the table, sources say the parties are receptive to the draft.
According to the document, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change will head the country through a period of transition.
While the MDC is pushing for a 24- or 30-month term, Zanu-PF is negotiating for five years. A compromise has still to be reached.
Regardless of the term, Tsvangirai will appoint two deputy prime ministers to his office, one from Zanu-PF and one from the MDC.
Both deputies will also preside over the strategic ministries of defence and home affairs. It is widely anticipated that Zanu-PF will continue to control the ministry of defence, while the MDC will assume control of home affairs, administering the police force and prison services.
The two deputies in their dual roles, along with the prime minister and another cabinet member, will form a National Security Council, overriding the existing Joint Operation Command.
The country's Central Intelligence Organisation, the head of the Defence Forces and the commissioner-general of the police will all answer to the NSC.
Spread across the political spectrum, the NSC will ensure that neither of the two parties monopolises the future general election, which will be called at the end of the transitional government and immediately after the existing constitution has been reformed or overhauled.
With the police force to fall into the hands of the MDC, Zimbabweans can anticipate a smooth election free from the intimidation and fear that marked the recent controversial polls.
The remaining ministries will be divided equally among both of the parties, while one will be allocated to Arthur Mutambara's splinter MDC faction.
However, yet to be negotiated, but also envisaged, are a number of so-called independent ministries, which will be headed by a cabinet-approved person who is recognised for his or her skill in the field.
It is anticipated that the Ministry of Finance and Investment would be one such portfolio that would reside independently of either party chief so as not to deter the expected and critical flow of money into the country during the transition, which will last for something in the region of two years.
The ministries of Justice, Land Resettlement Implementation, Agriculture and State Enterprises are also tipped to fall under independent jurisdiction during the transitional period.
As the head of Zanu-PF, "Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe should inaugurate the Coalition Government" by "formally summoning parliament", by "formally removing from office all those persons who immediately before the agreement date were vice-Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers" and appoint "Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to be a senator".
Under the draft agreement, the "functions and powers" of the 84-year-old incumbent "will be regulated and limited by the Transitional Constitution".
Upon his retirement, he will be recognised as the Founding President, but will undertake not to "seek to influence day-to-day governmental decisions nor will he publicly criticise, expressly or by implication, decisions made by the Government".
An equally surprising facet of the slated agreement is a blanket amnesty for each and every Zimbabwean "who in the course of upholding or opposing the aims and policies of the Government of Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF or either formation of the MDC, may have committed crimes within Zimbabwe".
It is a clause likely to appease the Zanu-PF leadership as it absolves them from all gross offences, including the bloody Gukuruhundi of the early 1980s which claimed the lives of thousands.
However, it will undoubtedly prove difficult for Tsvangirai to sell to his people, many of whom have been tortured by Mugabe's regime since he came to power 28 years ago.