Three years on… ‘GNU still limping’

February 17, 2012 at 10:49 am Leave a comment

Owen Gagare
ZIMBABWE’S uneasy coalition government turned three on Monday, the day when
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) principals were supposed to meet to
iron out niggling issues regarding the constitution-making process and the
status of Augustine Chihuri as police Commissioner-General and other service
cheifs.
The third anniversary came a week after President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara held a crisis
meeting over the non-implementation of certain provisions of the easily bent
agreement which is subject to various interpretations.

The Monday meeting was, however, rescheduled after the Copac management
committee failed to provide principals with an update on the
constitution-making process.

Political analysts believe the crisis meetings are a testimony that the
government of national unity (GNU) is saddled with myriad problems and
limping.
Although the GNU is built on shifting sand, the analysts concur life is much
better than a decade ago.

While service delivery has generally improved, the political stalemate which
paned the current crisis has remained and still tops the agenda of Sadc
summits, dampening the spirits of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said the GNU has not been a complete
failure despite its tribulations.

“Well, it has neither been a complete success nor a complete failure,” he
said.“There have been improvements in certain sectors. Success has been
registered in terms of the economy and political tranquility.

“Although there are pockets of violence, peace has largely been restored.
The situation is much better compared to the 2008 era, particularly during
the reign of terror witnessed in the presidential election run-off.”

He added: “There has been notable improvement in service delivery compared
to 2008/2009 when we had a cholera outbreak. There is, however, an ever
present danger of resurgence of these problems, now we have a typhoid
outbreak and there is a danger of a cholera outbreak again.

“Nothing is fully functional, we are talking in comparison terms, and things
are better now. Schools had virtually closed in 2008, but by the end of 2009
they were open and functioning, civil servants are not happy.”

Masunungure said the problems in the financial sector and the increase in
inflation were signs that the economy was not out of the woods and warned of
the danger of a relapse. He said the constitution-making process, for
example, had taken too long while the constant quarrels in the inclusive
government were an indication of a dysfunctional coalition.

“On the balance sheet, if one wants to be fair, there have been more
failures than successes, but we have not regressed to the 2008 era,” he
said.
Another analyst, Joseph Kurebwa said the major achievement of the GNU rests
in the stabilisation of the economy and ensuring national peace and
tranquility.

“We still hear of disagreements on certain issues in areas such as national
security, national healing and elections and so on, but I think they have
done relatively well,” said Kurebwa.

Political commentator Blessing Vava said the achievements made by the
inclusive government are insignificant compared to failures.
“I think the success should be measured in accordance with what was supposed
to be done as outlined by the GPA. The GPA talks of media reforms, electoral
reforms, removal of sanctions and pirate radio stations and the crafting of
a new constitution — leading to an election thereby signalling the collapse
of the GNU,” said Vava.

“But a closer analysis will reveal to you that nothing much was achieved,
Zimbabwe has and is still on the agenda at each and every Sadc summit since
the GNU was incepted –– a clear sign that the arrangement has been an
unworkable one”.

He said Mugabe was still abusing his practically unfettered executive powers
to frustrate his partners in government, while political activists from the
MDC formations are still being arrested.

Vava said the state media had not changed its editorial policy despite a
clear call for them to do so in the GPA, adding that the last three years
proved politicians were cut from the same cloth –– only interested in
self-aggrandisement at the expense of the nation.

“Nothing much should be credited to the GNU, save for the availability of
basic commodities which many Zimbabweans are still can’t afford,” he said.
“Service delivery is still poor, there is no money for food, clean water,
electricity, medicines and education for the poor. The country is still
faced by a high unemployment rate and yet the government is bloated with
chefs awarding themselves heavy perks, the buying of luxury vehicles being a
classic case of greed and misplaced priorities.”

Among a plethora of issues which the GNU has failed to implement is the
establishment of a National Economic Council meant to advise government as
well as formulate economic plans.

The GPA partners agreed to commit themselves to working together in
re-engaging the international community to bring to an end the country’s
international isolation, but the programme has failed.

“They agreed to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land
audit for the purpose of accountability and eliminating multiple farm
ownerships. This however is still to happen,” Vava said.

“The GPA calls for free political activity, freedom of assembly and
association, but on several occasions the police have disrupted rallies
organised by the MDC formations which are part of the agreement”.

Most state organs have remained embedded with Zanu PF although the GPA
states they should be non-partisan and impartial.The parties agreed to bring
perpetrators of violence to book, but this has not happened in the main.
Some Zanu PF ministers have blatantly refused to report to Tsvangirai
although section 20.1.4 of the GPA gives him the mandate to oversee the
formulation of government policies by the cabinet and ensure implementation.

Overall, most agreed issues in the GPA have not been implemented and this,
coupled with endless powers struggles and disputes, paints a picture of a
troubled three-year period for the inclusive government.


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