CONTROVERSY surrounds the appointment of provincial governors from the two MDC formations next month after Zanu PF reneged on an agreement to share the gubernatorial posts using the results of last year’s House of Assembly elections.
Sources in the inclusive government said Zanu PF was now insisting that provincial governors were representatives of President Robert Mugabe and hence the octogenarian leader should appoint people of his choice.
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara – the principals of the global political agreement that gave birth to the unity government – in May reached an agreement on the appointment of governors and ambassadors.
They agreed that the governors would be appointed on the basis of the March 2008 House of Assembly election results.Â Â Â
MDC-T would appoint governors in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Masvingo, Harare and Manicaland while MDC-M would have a resident minister in Matabeleland South and Zanu PF would retain governors in Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central.
The principals also agreed that the incumbent provincial governors would be allowed to serve one year of their two-year contacts before the new MDC appointees took over.
The incumbents were expected to leave office next Monday.
Government sources said Zanu PF had since reneged on the deal and said the issue of governors, the rehiring of central bank governor Gideon Gono and the appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana were not negotiable.
Zanu PF argued, the sources said, that the governors, Gono and Tomana were appointed by Mugabe in line with the constitution.
“The Zanu PF politburo felt it had made too many concessions and they want to use the issue of the governors as a bargaining chip,” one of the sources said. “They will declare that there is no agreement on the provincial governors and they might even reverse the ambassadorial appointments so as to gain mileage on negotiations.”
The sources said Mugabe realised late that the two MDC formations were gaining ground and were getting everything that was being bargained for.
Mugabe, the sources said, wanted to use the issue of governors to bargain for the stay in office of Gono and Tomana.
However, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Gorden Moyo, said the issue of governors was agreed on by the principals, but was quick to point out that a date for the swearing in of MDC resident ministers was yet to be set.
“The issue of the provincial governors and the swearing in of the deputy Minister of Agriculture Roy Bennett was resolved and what we are now awaiting is the swearing ceremony,” Moyo said. “When that will happen is the prerogative of the president.”
The MDC-T announced in May that it would appoint former women’s assembly chairperson Lucia Matibenga as governor of Masvingo, while Seiso Moyo will become governor of Bulawayo.
Former trade unionist and Senator James Makore was to become governor of Harare, Tose Sansole of Matabeleland North while Mutare businessman Julius Magarangoma would be the new resident minister for Manicaland.
MDC-M has not yet named its candidate for Matabeleland South, but former MP for Gwanda Paul Themba Nyathi was tipped to occupy the office.
The six incumbent Zanu PF governors, whose tenures were to be terminated were expected to be paid an agreed compensation.