15. September 2011

GPA still not fulfilled after three years

This week marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that created Zimbabwe’s unity government, and the majority of the issues that were agreed to by the political parties have still not been implemented.
The agreement was facilitated by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with the hope of ending political violence, stabilising the country’s battered economy and creating a roadmap to credible elections.
Yet three years later, negotiations are still moving at a snail’s pace and it has become clear that ZANU PF is blocking progress. Their campaign of arrests, violence and intimidation of MDC loyalists and civic groups has continued.
Media and electoral reforms mandated by the GPA have not been made. And oppressive legislation, such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) have not been repealed.
Elections are expected in the country in 2012, as announced by Robert Mugabe recently, without consultation of the MDC formations. This was a continuation of unilateral decision making by Mugabe, which has characterised the unity government for three years.
SADC leaders, acknowledging that progress has been too slow, resolved to appoint a three –member team months ago, to assist the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) in moving the process forward. That team has yet to be appointed and there appears to be no urgency.
McDonald Lewanika, director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told SW Radio Africa that the GPA was meant to be a transitional mechanism, and three years ago it was “inconceivable” the arrangement would last so long. “It’s disappointing but we Zimbabweans are to blame. As long as we act as though everything is fine and we do not protest or register our discontent with the status quo, the world will not assist us,” Lewanika explained.
He pointed to the recent hikes in power charges from the Zimbabwe Electric Supply Authority (ZESA), the lack of running water, poor service delivery and high unemployment that ordinary Zimbabweans struggle with daily, as incentives to speak out.
Asked why there are no protests in Zimbabwe similar to those that toppled dictatorships in North Africa, Lewanika said people are suffering and sooner or later they will say enough is enough.
“Catalytic events are not predictable. It can still happen in Zimbabwe,” he added.
Innocent Gonese, the MDC-T parliamentary chief whip, said they expected some problems at the outset but did not expect so much resistance to change from their partners in the unity government.
“We have had lots of problems and at times it seemed on the brink of collapse,” Gonese explained. He added that the country is moving in the right direction and significant progress has been made towards the drafting of a new constitution. But he admitted the environment for peaceful, free and fair elections does not exist.
The MDC-T legislator referred to a recent attack by ZANU PF thugs, who terrorised people outside parliament while Robert Mugabe called for an end to violence during the opening ceremonies. The Mugabe regime has remained in control of the security sector, whose chiefs continue to publicly declare their support for ZANU PF and refuse to acknowledge Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party.
“That is a grave concern. There seems to be no genuine intention to change that,” Gonese said. He insisted that SADC, as guarantors of the GPA, need to ensure that it is respected and fully implemented ahead of elections. “It is the only way that the outcome will be respected and reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe,” Gonese insisted. (SW Radio Africa)

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