Zim drags heels on Nepad

Shakeman Mugari

ZIMBABWE continues to drag its heels in fully embracing Nepad, raising fears the country could be reluctant to undergo the African economic recovery blue-print’s key peer review prerequisite.


Analysts argue Zimbabwe’s lack of enthusiasm for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) programmes is a clear indication the country has not yet addressed its tainted human rights record and restore the rule of law.


Zimbabwe might miss out on donor funding expected to pour in for those African countries that have fully embraced Nepad and its stringent peer review mechanism.


Nepad, a brainchild of South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo launched three years ago, has received strong backing from the international donor community.


Zimbabwe adopted the initiative in 2002 after initially indicating Nepad was a neo-liberal programme biased towards Western nations which the country is fighting.


However, two years after embracing the concept, Zimbabwe is yet to implement a programme under the partnership, raising doubts over the country’s commitment to the initiative.


Zimbabwe is now seen as a major problem in the implementation of Nepad in the region.


Other African countries have embraced the initiative and have taken steps to meet the stringent measures under the Nepad programme.


South Africa, the most active member in the programme, has set up Nepad divisions in each government ministry. Ghana has a ministry responsible for Nepad programmes while other member countries have departments to coordinate the activities of the initiative.


Zimbabwe is still to establish an office to deal with Nepad issues.

There is also policy contradiction on Nepad by the government. Former Finance minister Simba Makoni was pro-Nepad while President Robert Mugabe and several ministers remained sceptical about the programme.

The government has also confessed that it is not ready to be scrutinised under the peer review, a mechanism used by member countries to measure compliance with good governance, the rule of law and human rights issues.

In an interview last year, Finance and Economic Development minister Herbert Murerwa said Zimbabwe was not prepared for a peer review.


“Our position is that this is a voluntary and individual choice by someAfrican countries,” said Murerwa. “And we have chosen not to be reviewed. Weare not prepared. It will be a government decision. When the government decides the time is ripe we will volunteer for review.”


Analysts say Zimbabwe’s reluctance to come under the spotlight shows itsnon-compliance with democratic norms. They say the government is aware that ithas not improved its human rights record and delivery on democracy.


“Zimbabwe has ground itself into a rut. It is deliberately unwilling to be reviewed,” said human rights activist and political commentator, Brian Kagoro.


“They are not willing to be reviewed for political reasons. They know that they will not meet the standards set out under Nepad and they will open themselves to regional criticism which the government does not want at this moment.”


Ghana, Rwanda and Mauritius are currently being subjected to the peer review process by other member countries.


Recently, Malawi, Tanzania, Angola, Lesotho and Sierra Leone opened their doors for peer review into their systems of governance.


This brings to 23 the number of countries that have volunteered for peer review.