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  • Talks, dialogue, negotiations and GNU - Post June 2008 "elections" - Index of articles
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  • Wither Zimbabwe-s Inclusive Government?
    Wilfred Mhanda
    August 17, 2009

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    It is almost a year since the much heralded signing of the Global Political Agreement, GPA between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations and six months since the consummation of that agreement with the formation of the inclusive government comprising the three signatory parties to the accord. The southern African regional bloc SADC, the guarantor for the settlement, set a timeline of six months to review both the implementation of the GPA and the workability of the inclusive government. It is therefore appropriate for us Zimbabweans to undertake a non partisan debate of these entities ahead of the regional summit. We should not be only recipients of edicts from SADC but exercise our sovereign right as Zimbabweans to determine what is in our best interests; irrespective of what regional leaders say or think.

    Lest we forget, it would be instructive to revisit the Global Political Agreement and put in context and in the proper perspective the circumstances that necessitated it. This exercise is indispensable if we are not to lose focus. The signing of the GPA raised unrealistic expectations and lulled many into a sense of euphoria that wiped off the bitter memories of the post 29 March 2008 Election aftermath. Mugabe and his Joint Operations Command had unleashed a reign of terror, unprecedented since the Gukurahundi, in a flagrant attempt at electoral rape and to reverse Mugabe and ZANU PF-s setbacks in the 29 March 2008. It was these tragic events, in clear violation of the provisions SADC-s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and electoral conduct that triggered the signing of the GPA. In other words, the GPA and its side-kick, the inclusive government, were a consequence of the failure of democracy in Zimbabwe in general and in particular the denial of the right for the people of Zimbabwe to exercise their will to elect their representatives and leaders and political parties of their choice in free and fair elections.

    It is only logical that the performance of both the GPA and the inclusive government should be evaluated against the background of how much of the factors that prompted them to life have been satisfactorily addressed. Any other approach would be tantamount to the proverbial burying of heads in the sand and adopting the 'see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil- approach. Otherwise we run the risk of being saddled with a government that has neither legitimacy nor a mandate from the people of Zimbabwe for the next five years, if some of the recent comments by politicians are anything to go by. Such a development would be a clear case of two steps forward and three steps back yielding a net regression. Legitimacy of a government derives from consent and not from regional edicts. Nor can political parties confer legitimacy on a government formed without the people-s consent. The inclusive government has therefore its task clearly cut out; it should achieve the restoration of legitimate rule based on a mandate of the people in the shortest practicable timeframe. That is the inclusive government-s central task and its raison d-être. All other issues, though important, take secondary place.

    Some have argued that the driving consideration in signing the GPA and in forming the inclusive government was the overriding need to address the humanitarian crisis, the collapsed economy, restoration of health, education and service delivery and resuscitating the failed state. Is it really conceivable that GPA and the inclusive government could have come about in the first place, had the outcome of the 29 March 2008 election not been manipulated and had the electorate not been bludgeoned into submission in the 27 June 2008 electoral run-off charade? Through what justification and logic would the GPA and the inclusive government be formed to speak to and address issues that did not prompt them into existence in the first place? Or was someone trying to take people for a ride? Important as these issues may be, they are nothing more than presenting symptoms of the failure of government much like tuberculosis, hair loss, loss of weight, diarrhoea and skin disorders are presenting symptoms for HIV infection. Are the medical practitioners more concerned about these symptoms than the underlying cause for their expression? What would be the rationale of paying attention to these symptoms that would only reappear as long as the root cause remains un-addressed? Similarly, focusing on the symptoms of the failure of government, without addressing the underlying cause that engendered the crisis of government in the first place, is contrary to common sense. It is indeed a exercise in futility that will lead nowhere. What is the guarantee that when these issues are prioritised there will be no relapse to the status ante, given that the factors that generated them are still at play? With Mugabe and his henchmen, who presided over Zimbabwe-s collapse, remaining entrenched with the levers of control and power firmly in their hands, it would be naive to rule out such an eventuality. They have absolutely no incentive or motivation whatsoever to dictate their own obituary, at least for now.

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