While some analysts and civic society activists were generous in giving it a 4, others believed that the mark should be as low as 1 because of lack of commitment in implementing key provisions of the global political agreement (GPA).
The analysts and civic society activists this week expressed disappointment with the lack of commitment in implementing key provisions of the GPA.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara signed the GPA on September 15 2008, a pact in which they agreed to work together to “create a genuine, viable, permanent and sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwe situation”.
The principals agreed to restore economic stability and growth, push for the removal of sanctions, resolve the land issue that has been in dispute for more than a decade, draft a new constitution, promote national healing and equality, respect the rule of law and the constitution, and implement reforms that allow for freedom of expression.
But most of the benchmarks have remained unfulfilled more than a year after the GPA was inked.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure described the inclusive government as a failure, but awarded it a 4 because of improvements on the economic front.
“Using the benchmark of the GPA I would give the inclusive government between 4 and 5.
It’s a failure but it can be salvaged,” Masunungure said. “However, it is important to note that it was wishful thinking of many people that the GPA would deliver us to the Promised Land. Twelve months is too short a time in history. The GPA is a highly ambitious document made by people who were at loggerheads for over 10 years.”
He added: “They have done a wonderful job in restoring economic stability and the capacity to plan by individuals and corporates. That could not be possible just a year ago. Planning is the essence of life, when it is robbed because of economic chaos, society eventually collapses.”
Masunungure said if he were to give individual marks to people in charge of certain sectors, he would award a seven mark to those in charge of the economy.
“However, employment is still lagging behind. The inclusive government is failing to generate employment for the youth which is extremely high and more has to be done,” he said.
Masunungure also commended the unity government for restoring a peaceful political environment and improving social services.
“However, there are areas in the political domain where there are serious defects, for example the legislative agenda. They are still talking about amending Posa (Public Order and Security Act) and Aippa (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) a year after.” he said. “That should have been done during the first or the second month of the formation of the inclusive government. The Zimbabwe Media Commission is not yet functional.”
He also bemoaned the failure of government to properly implement the process of national healing, adding that on that benchmark, government had scored a paltry 25%.
“This is one area that has been given low priority. We hardly hear about this thing. It is in the intensive care unit unless something dramatic happens. One of the ministers who was responsible for it is now the vice president (John Nkomo) and we haven’t been told who will replace him,” Masunungure said.
He said government has only convened meetings on national healing, but nothing of substance has happened to achieve transitional justice.
Masunungure said the constitution-making process was also an area that deserved immediate attention and full commitment by the three principals.
“This process is like a patient who is still alive but at a grievous stage, severely dehydrated and needs a lot of attention. There is no wholesome commitment to the making of a new constitution on the part of the three principals,” he said. “Then there is the fragmentation of the whole exercise by the government, civil society and the donor community. The constitution is the core of the GPA and if it collapses the whole GPA will collapse with it.”
On the land issue, Masunungure said this was a total disaster and he gave government one point.
He said: “Where is the land audit? There are fresh disturbances and disruptions on the farms. You don’t know really whether these people want agriculture to collapse. One would need powerful lenses to see whether there is any movement in this sector.”
Masunungure said there had been advances and regression in as far as the rule of law was concerned.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku was of the opinion that the inclusive government had not succeeded as the majority of Zimbabweans were living below the poverty datum line.
According to economists, 85% of Zimbabweans are below the poverty datum line which stands at $500.
Madhuku said: “Poverty levels are deepening in the country. A country’s progress can only be measured by the level of poverty. It is still difficult for an ordinary person to make ends meet, to find money for hospital and for schools fees.
“There are no economic fundamentals which help to improve the lives of the poor. Government does not see the crisis now, they only see progress. But not everyone is getting hold of the foreign currency so easily.”
He said there was still no rule of law in the country.
Madhuku explained: “Just because there is absence of violence does not mean there is rule of law. Posa is still there; if you have a demonstration you will still be arrested by the police. What has actually gone down is the level of activism, for example, NCA has not gone for a demonstration since the start of the inclusive government.
“These guys are not following the constitution. Provisions of by-elections are still not being followed. There are delays in the establishment of a Zimbabwe Independent Electoral Commission. The inclusive government is failing to apply existing laws, for example, Mugabe’s cabinet has many cabinet ministers and this is against (what is stipulated in) the constitution. The problem is their attitude towards the law, what matters is not the law but them. It is typical of what the Mugabe government has been doing.”
Madhuku said the inclusive government had only implemented 40% the provisions of the GPA.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya, Media Institute of Southern Africa director, concurred with Masunungure and Madhuku and expressed disappointment at the lack of commitment to democratise the media space and guarantee freedom of expression.
Ngwenya said: “We just have to look at the defects of the GPA. It clearly states that the parties will ensure the registration and re-registration of media under Aippa, the same law that we have been advocating to have removed.
“This is despite promises by the Media and Information minister (Webster Shamu) to take up recommendations that we made at the Kariba-May conference. But nothing has been published on that yet, the matter has not been tabled in parliament and we don’t know what is going on.”
Ngwenya said the gazetting of the ZMC is the only aspect that has been achieved and it only happened a year later.
On that score, Ngwenya said the inclusive government only achieved 10% of its intended targets.
Other repressive media laws — for which there have been calls for their repealing and amending — include the Broadcasting Services Act, Interception of Communications Act, Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and Posa.
“It is now a year after, but there are no reforms to media laws. We still see harassment of journalists, we have a journalist who fled to South Africa and another who was detained after covering a march by Woza, all of this in a space of three weeks. You tend to wonder how many journalists are going to be harassed and arrested,” Ngwenya added.
The Youth Forum was of the opinion that there was need to see new players in the media and the successful implementation of the constitution-making process and national healing, reconciliation and integration agenda.
“We would want to see more community newspapers, radio and even television stations being set-up at community level as they can play a very important role in articulating issues and driving development at community level,” the forum said. “Players in government should also try and ensure that the state media desists from pushing partisan agendas and start fulfilling its role as a genuine people’s broadcaster”.