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GNU energy-sapping, say ministers

Water and Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo and Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga admitted difficulties in the government of national unity (GNU) but insisted that the Sadc deal was the best way for the country.

Sipepa-Nkomo said there was “thick tension” in the cabinet, with ministers taking partisan lines when discussing national issues. “When issues are tabled in Cabinet, one can see clearly that the discussions will take a partisan line,” said Sipepa-Nkomo while addressing a public meeting in Bulawayo last week.

“If it is an issue brought up by a Zanu PF minister, you will see Zanu PF ministers rallying behind it, even if it is ridiculous. If it is an issue raised by an MDC minister, you will see MDC ministers rallying behind it, even if it is ridiculous. Even in government, we still take partisan lines.”

Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said the issue of the 1983-1987 genocide in Matabeleland had been the most contentious issue facing the inclusive government.
“The Gukurahundi has been then most difficult debate we have had in Cabinet. This is because it speaks to all these issues (of the underdevelopment of Matabeleland). It speaks to the issue of ethnicity that we have managed to put squarely on the table as a result of the GNU.

“It (Gukurahundi debate) was very difficult and very depressing, such that some people literally went back to the 1800s and spoke of how the Ndebele stole our cattle and women. It was just difficult,” she said.

Tsvangirai recently complained to President Robert Mugabe that his ministers were undermining his powers as mandated by the GPA, by boycotting the council of ministers’ meetings he chairs.

The MDC-T says the intransigent ministers, who allegedly report directly to Mugabe’s inner circle, have created a parallel government structure and another “Ministry of Finance” to weaken the GNU, which brought about the current relative economic and political stability.

It is thought the “ministry” gets its funds from the diamonds mined in Marange. MDC-T blamed Zanu PF hardliners, senior police and army officials, whom it accused of ordering ministers and civil servants to boycott Tsvangirai’s meetings in their bid to wreck the coalition government. Several senior army and police officers have openly declared their allegiance to Zanu PF.

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