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  • Inclusive government - Index of articles
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  • Inclusive Government still failing to implement 24 agreed points - Bill Watch 2/2011
    February 01, 2011

    To put an end to the political standoff and escalating violence following the controversial 2008 presidential elections, ZANU-PF and both groups of the MDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] on 21st July 2008, in Harare. The parties agreed to end political violence and work towards a national unity government and a new constitution. Despite this MOU, it needed further intensive negotiations and pressure from the SADC-appointed and AU-endorsed facilitator, the then SA President Thabo Mbeki, to achieve a signed Inter-party Agreement [the GPA] on 15th September 2008. Even then, there remained unresolved disputes between the parties, but the signing went ahead on the “understanding” that in the goodwill generated by the signing these would be soon sorted out. [An optimism not generally shared.]

    Just before the signing ceremony, President Mbeki announced that “the leaders will spend the next few days constituting the inclusive government”. But this was not to be. There was still such acrimony over the “loose ends” that it became necessary to bring in the SA mediation team again and again. Even when, nearly five months later, agreement was at least reached to implement the essential part of the GPA - the formation of the inclusive government - there were still hotly contested points of disagreement. These points - and new disputes arising since - have been a running sore throughout the lifetime of the inclusive government, necessitating continued inter-party negotiations, with the assistance of the facilitators.

    By mid-March 2010 the negotiators stated that the parties had reached agreement on 24 of the issues in dispute, but it was not until 8th June that the principals met and endorsed this agreement. After that there was another long delay and it was only on the 4th August that the party principals met and agreed on an “implementation matrix” fixing a time-frame for the implementation of the 24 agreed points - some to be implemented immediately, others within one or two months and the rest to be dealt with periodically or continuously. This matrix was endorsed by the SADC Windhoek Summit on 17th August. But it remains largely unimplemented:

    Progress (?) on Implementation Matrix for the 24 Agreed Items

    The 15 items for implementation immediately or within one month of the Windhoek Summit: [14 not implemented at all; other item ½ done]

    By the 7th October 2010, more than six weeks after the Windhoek Summit, 14 of these 15 items remained totally unimplemented. There had been an unsatisfactory attempt to implement 1 item - the gazetting of Constitution Amendment No. 19 as passed by Parliament [a revised version of the Amendment was gazetted by the Ministry of Justice Law Reviser but even this failed to set out the full text passed by Parliament]. For details of these 15 items see Bill Watch 40/2010 of 7th October. New subscribers who do not have this summary, or the implementation matrix showing the 24 agreed items and planned implementation schedule, please request from

    Developments on the 15 items since then [Very little done]

    None of the 14 unfulfilled items have been implemented. The item calling for the re-gazetting of Constitution Amendment No. 19 that was partially done has still not been done properly. There has been a little, belated, progress on one item [that the Minister of Justice, Cabinet and Parliament would “immediately” have legislation to amend the Electoral Act “completed”, i.e. enacted]; the Electoral Amendment Bill is believed to have been approved by Cabinet, but is still to be given the final go-ahead by the party principals, and has not been officially released. There were other items of importance to the nation which have still not been finalized - neither the Land Audit Commission nor the National Economic Council has been constituted, and media issues - Broadcasting Authority Board, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Board and Mass Media Trust - have not been attended to.

    The 2 items for implementation within two months i.e. before the end of October [Not implemented]

    Land Tenure Systems - formulation of systems, with emphasis on leasehold, guaranteeing security of tenure and collateral value. No conclusions on land tenure systems have been reached.

    National Heroes - expediting adoption of non-partisan and inclusive principles and framework for designation of national heroes. The designation of national heroes continues to be the preserve of ZANU-PF, and the controversy surrounding this issue continues. Harsh words were exchanged in the House of Assembly in November when MDC-T MPs questioned the national hero status conferred on the late former Provincial Governor Masawi.

    The 5 Items for continuous action [Very little progress]

    These items are a mixed bunch, some specific, some so curiously worded as not to lend themselves to assessment.

    • Sanctions Removal Strategy - implementation by party leaders, executive party organs and lower levels of the three political parties and the Cabinet Re-Engagement Committee. All party leaders have now called for the removal of sanctions, but sanctions remain. Note the GPA does not specify the removal of sanctions - something outside the powers of the parties - but calling for removal.
    • Hate Speech in the Media - this curious item - that the media to be directed “to support all agreed government programmes and put a stop to attacks against ministers implementing such programmes” bears no relation to the hate speech problem as generally perceived by observers, i.e. that the State media continue to denigrate MDC-T Ministers in strongly derogatory terms. Neither the fulfilment of the item - presumably directed at the private press and quite rightly ignored as it hardly peddles hate speech - nor the cessation of hate speech in the state media have taken place.
    • Rule of Law, State Security Organs and Institutions - ensuring that the Commissioner-General of Police, state security organs and the Attorney-General comply with Articles 11 and 13 of the GPA. Article 11 requires everyone to respect and uphold the Constitution and other laws, and the rule of law; Article 13 requires impartiality in the discharge of duties, adherence to laws, training in human rights law, etc. There are still regular complaints against both police and Attorney General’s Office, alleging failure to meet these standards. Senior military officers have been reported publicly proclaiming politically partisan sentiments and military personnel have been accused of intimidation and violence against those perceived to be anti-ZANU-PF. This month MDC-T co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone complained publicly that the police, who come under her Ministry, had not reformed at all.
    • Parallel Government - this item requires continuous monitoring and evaluation of “the allegation of a parallel government”. Results of any such monitoring and evaluation have not been made known.
    • External Interference - this item calls for the leadership of the three Political Parties and the Cabinet Re-Engagement Committee to condemn in unison any external interferences as and when they occur. [Acting in unison has not been a strong feature of the inclusive government since the Windhoek Summit.]

    The 2 items for periodic action [Not implemented]

    Review of Ministerial allocations the status quo was to be maintained, but continuously monitored by party principals, with periodic assessment to be made. Reviews or assessments, if done, remain a closely guarded secret.

    • Electoral Vacancies - political parties and party principals to extend GPA Article 21.1 [provision for GPA parties not to contest by-elections against each other] to cover the entire duration of the inclusive government. This implies that the constitutional obligation to hold by-elections would be honoured. But the question of implementation has not arisen because no by-elections have been called since mid-2008 - although 20
    • Parliamentary by-elections, and an unknown number of local authority by-elections, are now pending and long overdue. The Inclusive Government appears to have tacitly accepted the contravention of the Constitution by adopting the position that vacancies should not be filled.


    Compliance with the agreed implementation matrix has been negligible.

    The Disputes that were Not Agreed in the Implementation Matrix

    If the inclusive government cannot implement issues that have been agreed between the parties, it is not surprising that there has also been a total failure to give effect to the Windhoek Summit’s decision on unresolved issues - that the party principals would, within a month of the Summit, resolve the disputes over:

    • the appointment of Reserve Bank Governor Gono
    • the appointment of Attorney-General Tomana
    • the President’s refusal to swear in Senator Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.


    Thabo Mbeki began negotiations between ZANU-PF and MDC soon after the disputed presidential election of 2002. It has been a sorry saga of delays, secrecy, purported agreements, and nothing actually settled. In such a scenario we must ask the question: Cui bono? – Who profits? Certainly not the ordinary people of Zimbabwe.

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