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The GPA Principals and history’s departure point lost

ACCORDING to media reports, in the aftermath of the Sadc ceremony to open that organisation’s new headquarters in mid-November, the assumption that there would be a side meeting of the regional body’s Troika to directly address the Zimbabwean crisis turned out not to be true. 

What has since emerged is that President Jacob Zuma is due in Zimbabwe by the weekend beginning Friday November 26 according to Reuters News Agency. Whether his meetings with the three political principals will be as brief as the last time he visited, it is hard to tell, but what is clear is that no matter the duration of his visit, this time Zuma has to ensure that there is progress or at least clarity on the way forward vis-à-vis the GPA. But because Zuma is not a Zimbabwean leader, one cannot expect too much from him and our focus must no longer be on measuring his ability to deliver our country to a political Canaan.
Instead our focus at this critical juncture must be firmly set on how President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara demonstrate a full appreciation of the gravity of the issues at hand in the country. Especially when they meet Zuma.
In direct relation to the political stalemate in the country at present, the three leaders have neither demonstrated nor indicated a clear understanding of how with each passing day their differences real or perceived are now patently symptomatic of how the GPA has become a political ceasefire arrangement.
This, in a fashion similar to the much written temporary World War 1 Christmas Day ceasefire, where warring troops suspended fighting for a day and continued with killing each other on Boxing Day. In other words, nothing in relation to their political attitude to each other or to the country has changed. 
The three leaders have failed to utilise time to depart from the past. Instead they have used it to restock on ammunition in order to fight another day in similar fashion to all the fights of the last 10 years.
This also essentially means that they have failed even in their endeavour to seek incremental change in the country, and that perhaps all they sought from each other was temporary respite, or to live to fight another day. And it is this attitude which neither puts the country first nor inspires confidence in the leadership capabilities of all of the three leaders.
But the country and its citizens have to face up to the reality of the tragic nature of the leadership of the inclusive government, and once again decry what has come to be called “African politics”. And where this statement is made, this article may be considered naïve or simplistic.
The truth of the matter is that the political reality of our country standing as always on the precipice of disaster and doom because one party has done one thing or the other is setting the base for a banana republic where it is individuals and their increasingly personalised political parties that hold sway over the nation. Simply put, all of the three political parties made the GPA their bed and they must lie in it, albeit with all its discomforts.
And for these discomforts all of the three leaders are to blame. Perhaps one more than the others, but when the final analysis is made, the GPA is the responsibility of all of them. Mugabe must be informed that political brinkmanship is neither helpful to the country’s present nor its future.
Seeking, as evidenced by his publicly recorded statements, to have an “arithmetic” condign election and attempt to get rid of the MDCs in government is neither realistic nor possible.
This is because even if he seeks to ram an election down our throats, the political psyche of the country will not digest it and he together with Zanu PF will be dogged by legitimacy problems nationally and in the international community. Such a development would only serve to increase the number of people seeking to leave the country, compound the economic crisis further and make this state a very unstable one.
Tsvangirai on the other hand cannot skirt his responsibilities in the GPA and the matter of how his political conduct is potentially negatively viewed by its guarantor, Sadc. Where he makes public statements, they should be consistent both with his party’s principles as well as with the mantra of “necessary compromises” he has insisted on since September 2008. This together with a deliberate tackling of the perception that the MDC-T is working too closely with the West and a reduction of MDC-T policy ambiguity on the issue of sanctions would serve our country better.
Mutambara for all his attempts at bridging the political gap between his two more powerful colleagues, must function with a greater understanding of collective responsibility with his party as well as the inclusive government.


By Takura Zhangazha

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