GNU: Zanu PF govt by another name
I FIND space travel infinitely fascinating. The news is that Mae Jemison,
best known as the first black female astronaut to travel to space, will lead
an audacious US project that will within 100 years result in a spaceship
that will take humans to the stars.
Now to the present, recently the reclusive North Korean dictatorship was
severely embarrassed when an attempt to prove it had mastered the
complexities of spacecraft came to an inauspicious end: the rocket
disintegrated into pieces a mere 90 seconds into its flight, in full view of
invited foreign journalists! For poverty-stricken North Korea to try to send
a rocket into space smacks of warped priorities, but dictators’ penchant for
vainglory is legendary; the launch was meant to coincide with the centenary
of the birth of North Korea’s founding leader, the late “eternal chairman”
The Global Political Agreement, precursor to the unity government, hardly
reads like rocket science. In its preamble, the signatories recognise “the
historical obligation and need to reach a solution that will allow us to put
Zimbabwe first and give the people a genuine chance of reconstructing their
Sadly, this is an ideal that has failed to launch — so to speak — the
exception being the oft-cited stabilisation of the economy and decline in
political violence. Government remains stuck with a grave implementation
deficit as promised reforms remain mere GPA statements of intent. While the
inclusive government masquerades as a “unity government”, it is increasingly
a Zanu PF regime in disguise — old wine in new bottles.
Whenever there is a clash of interest or on interpretation of the GPA, it is
the Zanu PF interest that prevails. And major decisions and policies are
rarely official unless the Zanu PF element of the GNU political amalgam has
had its say, as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy premier Arthur
Mutambara have found out to their regular chagrin.
So it was with the issue of the extension of the service chiefs’ contracts.
In February Tsvangirai and Mutambara insisted at a press conference that the
Zanu-PF aligned service chiefs were in office in an acting capacity, only
for Mugabe to announce 48 hours later that he had extended their contracts
In May Mutambara, in his colourful style, condemned the proliferation of
roadblocks saying they were not necessary since Zimbabwe is not a police
state. “There is no need for all those roadblocks. We do not want corruption
whereby the police use these as fundraising methods,” he told parliament
saying cabinet had tasked Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi to
investigate the matter with the aim of reducing the number of roadblocks.
Alas, this week Mutambara had the rug pulled from under his feet when none
other than Home secretary Melusi Matshiya told a Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee that “roadblocks are a necessity because it is part of policing
and you cannot remove that element from the police …”.
That echoes sentiments of Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, an
avowed Zanu PF supporter. And it is Chihuri’s cops that even decide whether
or not the MDC can hold a political rally, but the same police can stand
akimbo while rowdy Zanu PF supporters disrupt a public hearing on the Human
Rights Bill after assaulting legislators and journalists inside parliament,
as was the case last year.
Zanu PF holds the politically strategic posts in cabinet. Of course the
MDC-T’s Tendai Biti is Finance minister, a key post, but then again
government is broke. This week he was lamenting budget revenue targets were
slipping away, while also bemoaning he was not receiving anticipated diamond
revenue. What’s more, he has proved to be a convenient scapegoat for
problems ranging from non-remittance of war vets’ pensions and other
benefits, to underfunding of agriculture.
Add the army’s recent menacing declaration that “as soldiers we will never
be apologetic for supporting Zanu PF ”, and the party’s vice-grip on the
state media, and the picture becomes that much clearer.
Maybe the most profound acknowledgement that the GNU is a Zanu PF government
came from (MDC-T) Nelson Chamisa who hailed President Mugabe as a leader who
was in the “cockpit” while leading a team of ministers who are passengers in
Zimbabwe’s development plane. Chamisa said “Mugabe’s wisdom makes sure the
plane does not crash”.
Many would argue that this plane is not flying, but grounded on the runway.
The reality? Thirty-two years of Zanu PF rule, and counting.
By Stewart Chabwinja