ZIMBABWE yesterday marked four years of the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) with little to cheer as the much anticipated economic benefits have eluded the majority while political reforms are still to materialise.
Report by Patrice Makova
Analysts and civic society organisations said the journey had not been smooth sailing, mostly due to lack of cooperation among the three parties to the GPA, Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director, McDonald Lewanika said the GPA and the subsequent formation of a coalition government was an experiment which had largely failed.
“This experiment is faltering as signified by the failure to write a new constitution and implementation of outstanding political reforms,” he said. “There is now a need to look at ways to terminate this experiment which has failed to deliver on promises to end the humanitarian, economic and political crisis in the country.”
Lewanika said the only way to end the inclusive government was to clearly set up time frames and dates for the holding of a referendum on the new constitution and elections.
“The GPA and the GNU are a negation of the will of the people,” he said. “The right to govern comes from the people rather than through smart negotiations.
Instead of lobbying for the life of the GNU to be extended, there is need to go back to the people and elect a legitimate leader and government of this country.”
ZimRights director, Okay Machisa said the failure of the GPA was largely because of Zanu PF’s insincerity and double standards.
“While others are always waiting to make progress,” he said. “One party is always retreating when something tangible is about to be achieved. If you look at the constitution-making process, the three parties agreed to the Copac draft and representatives appended their signatures, but at the last minute, Zanu PF reneged.”
Machisa said the several Sadc extra-ordinary summits on Zimbabwe were due to lack of sincerity on the part of the GPA partners. He said the only notable achievement of the GNU was the stabilisation of the economy following the introduction of a multi-currency system.
Machisa said the GPA principals must ensure the completion of the constitution-making process and implementation of agreed security, electoral, media and other political reforms.
“If we also want peace in the country, there is need for our leaders to walk the talk when it comes to political violence,” he said. “In November last year the leaders appeared united in speaking against violence, but up to today political violence is still rampant. We cannot have credible elections when there is still violence.”
But Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said his party should not be blamed for the failure of the GPA as it had long called for its termination.
“September 15 is now just a day for historians to put in their books, but otherwise the GPA no longer has any relevance,” he said. “For all intents and purposes, the GPA and the GNU have collapsed. There is nothing to celebrate about the GPA unless if we want to celebrate its demise.”
Civil Society organisations, under the banner of the Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (Cisomm), said the anniversary was marred by the “tragic” failure to fulfil the commitments laden in the letter and spirit of the GPA.
In a statement, Cisomm said it was hardly surprising that the failure to fully implement the GPA had been concurrent with the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as typhoid and dysentery, the deterioration of maternal care in hospitals, shortage of anti-retroviral drugs, lawlessness and impunity.
Cisomm said it was not sufficient to celebrate the licensing of two radio stations, ZiFM and Star FM when there was still only one electronic broadcaster, which was biased towards one political party.
“It cannot be enough to laud the creation of a Human Rights Commission that still awaits a legal mandate to commence its operations,” they said. “It is remiss to celebrate any statistical data relating to economic growth which does not translate to clean, accessible and affordable water, electricity, health care, education and all other manner of entitlements that are necessary for the unfettered pursuit of happiness.”
The GPA was signed through the mediation of Sadc.
This followed the bloody 2008 Presidential election run-off where President Robert Mugabe was the only candidate after first round winner, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew from the race due to violence.