GPA still not fulfilled after three years
By Tererai Karimakwenda
This week marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) that created Zimbabwe’s unity government, and the majority
of the issues that were agreed to by the political parties have still not
The agreement was facilitated by the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC), with the hope of ending political violence, stabilising the country’s
battered economy and creating a roadmap to credible elections.
Yet three years later, negotiations are still moving at a snail’s pace and
it has become clear that ZANU PF is blocking progress. Their campaign of
arrests, violence and intimidation of MDC loyalists and civic groups has
Media and electoral reforms mandated by the GPA have not been made. And
oppressive legislation, such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) have not
Elections are expected in the country in 2012, as announced by Robert Mugabe
recently, without consultation of the MDC formations. This was a
continuation of unilateral decision making by Mugabe, which has
characterised the unity government for three years.
SADC leaders, acknowledging that progress has been too slow, resolved to
appoint a three –member team months ago, to assist the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (JOMIC) in moving the process forward. That team
has yet to be appointed and there appears to be no urgency.
McDonald Lewanika, director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told SW
Radio Africa that the GPA was meant to be a transitional mechanism, and
three years ago it was “inconceivable” the arrangement would last so long.
“It’s disappointing but we Zimbabweans are to blame. As long as we act as
though everything is fine and we do not protest or register our discontent
with the status quo, the world will not assist us,” Lewanika explained.
He pointed to the recent hikes in power charges from the Zimbabwe Electric
Supply Authority (ZESA), the lack of running water, poor service delivery
and high unemployment that ordinary Zimbabweans struggle with daily, as
incentives to speak out.
Asked why there are no protests in Zimbabwe similar to those that toppled
dictatorships in North Africa, Lewanika said people are suffering and sooner
or later they will say enough is enough.
“Catalytic events are not predictable. It can still happen in Zimbabwe,” he
Innocent Gonese, the MDC-T parliamentary chief whip, said they expected some
problems at the outset but did not expect so much resistance to change from
their partners in the unity government.
“We have had lots of problems and at times it seemed on the brink of
collapse,” Gonese explained.
He added that the country is moving in the right direction and significant
progress has been made towards the drafting of a new constitution. But he
admitted the environment for peaceful, free and fair elections does not
The MDC-T legislator referred to a recent attack by ZANU PF thugs, who
terrorised people outside parliament while Robert Mugabe called for an end
to violence during the opening ceremonies.
The Mugabe regime has remained in control of the security sector, whose
chiefs continue to publicly declare their support for ZANU PF and refuse to
acknowledge Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party.
“That is a grave concern. There seems to be no genuine intention to change
that,” Gonese said. He insisted that SADC, as guarantors of the GPA, need to
ensure that it is respected and fully implemented ahead of elections.
“It is the only way that the outcome will be respected and reflect the will
of the people of Zimbabwe,” Gonese insisted.
You can hear more on the third anniversary of the signing of the GPA on the
programme Crisis Analysis.
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