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  • Inclusive government - Index of articles

  • Public opinion: What people say about the GPA
    Jabusile Shumba and Anyway Chingwete, OSISA
    June 30, 2011

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    In September 2008, the leaders of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two wings of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-Tand MDC-M) 'set aside' their political differences and signed a landmark power sharing agreement known as the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The GPA was the culmination of protracted negotiations, mediated by South Africa's ex-president Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to find a legitimate and workable way out of the deadlock following the inconclusive March presidential poll and the violence-marred run-off in June. In Article II of the GPA, the Parties agreed 'to work together to create a genuine, viable, permanent, sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwe situation and implement the agreement with the aims of resolving once and for all the current political and economic situations and chart a new political direction for the country'. A key component of the GPA was the formation of an Inclusive Government (IG), which finally came into existence in February 2009.

    Two years after the signing of the GPA, the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM) conducted an opinion poll on public attitudes to the IG.

    In this paper, we discuss the performance of the government based on the survey's findings and on supporting evidence from secondary sources. We recognise the limitations of space and time and for that reason, we have restricted ourselves to the public's opinion of economic, political and constitutional reform; elections; state institutions; service delivery; and, transitional justice since they are some of the key imperatives agreed in the GPA.

    Zimbabwe's transition under the Inclusive Government

    With the signing of the GPA and subsequent inauguration of the IG a political transition began in Zimbabwe. More than two years into that transition, Zimbabweans have experienced both progression and regression on the political and economic fronts. During the first six months of the IG, the country made incredible progress in terms of economic reforms and reducing political violence. Hope and considerable enthusiasm were generated among Zimbabweans but also across the region and internationally. Opinion surveys conducted soon after the IG was formed confirmed that there was robust public support for the coalition government and that Zimbabweans had great expectations about their future. In a survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) between March and early April 2009, a whopping 80 percent of Zimbabweans approved of the formation of the IG, while only 14 percent disapproved and 5 percent were neutral. In May 2009, 66 percent of Zimbabweans were agreeable to the sentiment that 'creating a coalition government in Zimbabwe was the best way forward' against 26 percent who felt that the coalition government was an ineffective way of resolving the crisis. This majority support for the IG was an expression of hope for the future for an end to protracted economic decline, for a return to political stability and for improved delivery of key social services. Approximately two years into the life of the coalition government, the IDAZIM survey found that about 70 percent of Zimbabweans still expressed satisfaction with the performance of the IG, while 25 percent felt the government had performed badly or very badly. Overall how would you judge the performance of the Inclusive Government so far?

    Overall how would you judge the performance of the Inclusive Government so far?

    Performance Percentage
    Performed very well 8
    Performed well 62
    Performed very badly 7
    Performed badly 18
    Don't know 5
    Total 100

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