Articles

Stop the bickering and fully implement the GPA

 

On the 15th of September, 2008 there were celebrations, flooded with mixed euphoria across the country after the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) by Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

 

The signing of the GPA which was followed by the formation of the Inclusive Government in February 2009.This new transitional dispensation ignited hope for economic recovery, social and political stability. The formation of the inclusive government also had its negative share as this new platform was used by parties in the inclusive government to settle political scores. This tussle was glaringly pronounced mainly between the former ruling party ZANU PF and the two MDCs.

 

September 15, 2012 marks the fourth anniversary of the GPA and the nation will take the opportunity to reflect on the journey travelled so far since the formation of the inclusive government. At the inception of the inclusive government people of Zimbabwe were promised that the economy would recover and that hospitals and schools, among other services would be restored. Whilst there has been progress in this regard, it is disheartening to note that much has not been done in ensuring that democratic reforms are put in place before the holding of elections.

 

At the core of the GPA are power struggles which have been the major obstacle in the implementation of democratic reforms such as the security sector reform, media and legislative reform. These key reforms are viewed by many as the critical pillars or ingredients that are needed to open up space for the holding of democratic elections in Zimbabwe. To date, people's aspirations to enjoy their fundamental freedoms have been shuttered.

 

The current impasse within the constitution making process is a clear example of a platform that politicians have hijacked in a bid to out-manoeuvre each other, while ignoring the calls for formation of a concrete base for institutional reform in Zimbabwe.

 

Those that have accorded themselves unfettered powers through constitutional amendments, are not prepared to let go because they are beneficiaries of a skewed constitutional framework which emphasizes more on the power of the executive than people power which can only be guaranteed by an intact   Bill of Rights. For ZANU PF the formation of the inclusive government can be viewed as an opportunity to regroup for the purposes of preparing the ground for the next elections. ZANU PF has frustrated and manipulated any possible opportunity that is presented to ensure reforms within key institutions. It is apparent that for them, having a partisan media would greatly promote their hegemony and that partisan state institutions are at their disposal for use in instigating violence and hate speech as was the case during the 2008 sham elections.

 

Zimbabwean people had pinned their hopes on the 32nd SADC summit held on 18th of July 2012 and the visit by the SADC Facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma. Instead the Summit merely encouraged parties to the GPA to fully implement the GPA without coming up with deadlines and possible enforcement mechanisms of SADC resolutions. The two key events were instead followed by the announcement of a constitutional deadlock by the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Zimbabweans have expressed disappointment over SADC for not taking a firm stance against the political parties' belligerence especially ZANU PF.

 

"Zimbabweans are expecting too much from SADC. We have to play our part at the end of the day it is a shared responsibility, € said McDonald Lewanika Director of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. Cognisant of the key role that SADC continues to play in Zimbabwe, surely one would appreciate that SADC has played its part and it's time for the people of Zimbabwe to take responsibility over their own lives.

 

Zimbabweans should put a stop to the machinations and grandstanding by the political parties. ZANU PF has also set the record clear, that it's either their way or the high way. In an article published in the Sunday News on the 2nd of September 2012, ZANU PF's spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was quoted saying "It's now up to the principals to decide the way forward. As Zanu-PF we are confident that Zimbabwe will have a new constitution but if there is a deadlock we will have no choice but to go for elections using the current constitution. What will happen after those elections; only God knows? ...,'' The question to Mr Gumbo is, where do the people of Zimbabwe come in and who has the supreme right to make ultimate decisions on behalf of more than 14 million Zimbabweans?

 

The people of Zimbabwe need to raise their voices and put more pressure on the political parties and SADC and these should be backed by coordinated action at local grassroots level. The responsibility for change bears more upon us. The immortal words of Benjamin Franklin bear testimony to the assertion that we are our own liberators. Franklin said, "The government you get is the government you deserve €. Surely as the people of Zimbabwe we deserve better and should not betray the ideals of the liberation struggle and the courage and unity of purpose exhibited on March, 11, 2007 by a broad church of Zimbabweans. Ultimately Zimbabweans should step up and take responsibility by demanding the following from SADC:

1.              Clear deadlines and enforcement mechanism as far as implementation of the GPA is concerned.

2.             Urge Political parties to the GPA to take a united action and political tussling and expedite the implementation of the GPA by setting up a clear road map to elections which guarantees security of persons, a free and fair election and respect of the will of the people.

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