MDC-T gives GNU Ultimatum Over Outstanding Issues

THE MDC-T has given an ultimatum to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to resolve outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA) by Monday.


The ultimatum signalled growing frustration with the inclusive government, which is struggling to deal with the country’s economic and social problems.

The outstanding issues that remain unresolved include the reappointment of provincial governors, permanent secretaries, ambassadors, Reserve Bank  governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara met on Tuesday for the sixth time in two weeks to try to deal with the sticking points.

Addressing a press conference in Harare on Wednesday, MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said if the issues were not resolved by Monday, the matter would be referred to the party’s national council, which will meet on May 17, to decide the way forward.

“The delay in settling outstanding issues is an assault on the integrity and health of the all-inclusive government,” Biti said. “It is hoped that these issues will be brought to finality when the three principals meet on Monday… which should be the last meeting… and failure of which we will convene a national council meeting to chart the way forward.”

He, however, said that his party would not pull out of the unity government saying doing so “will be a betrayal of the long suffering people of the MDC and Zimbabwe”.

Biti said the reappointments of Gono and Tomana were unprocedural in that they were executive appointments done after the signing of the GPA, which states that such appointments must be done following agreement by the principals.

Also of concern to the MDC-T, Biti said, was the refusal by Mugabe to swear in its treasurer-general Roy Bennett as the deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Mugabe has cited what he calls “serious charges” against Bennett. Biti said Bennett was innocent until proven guilty. He said according to the GPA, which was now part of the constitution, Mugabe had no powers to refuse to swear-in Bennett after he was nominated by his party. Biti urged the deputy-minister-designate to go to his office and start work.

The MDC-T secretary-general also lashed out at the service chiefs for failing to respect “the new authority in town, which is the office of the Prime Minister”.

He said the service chiefs had shown reluctance to respect Tsvangirai during the Independence Day celebrations and at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

“The delay in finding a lasting solution to outstanding issues is of great concern to the MDC,” Biti said. “In our view these issues should have been concluded soon after the formation of the inclusive government in February.”

He said the party was worried that some elements in government, Zanu PF, the security forces and public media continued to disregard provisions of the GPA.

“There are a number of toxic and poisonous attitudes that some of these institutions are showing. Their attitude is as if they are in a war situation,” Biti said.

Biti also raised concerns over the disregard of human rights by state security agents in light of the re-arrests of Zimbabwe Peace Project director, Jestina Mukoko, former personal aide to the Prime Minister, Ghandi Mudzingwa, journalist Shadreck Manyere, and 15 other MDC and civil society activists.

Meanwhile, High Court judge Justice November Mtshiya yesterday deferred to today the bail application by Manyere, Mudzingwa and MDC-T security director Kisimusi Dhlamini to give the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office an opportunity to file its responses.

Chris Mutangadura, a law officer at the AG’s office, applied for postponement of the hearing to Monday protesting that defence lawyers had not served him the bail application on time.

He said he needed time to “uplift certain judgements from this court (High Court) and to peruse the large documents”.

But defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama disputed Mutangadura’s assertion and told Justice Mtshiya that he had served the bail application papers on Tuesday on Morgan Dube of the AG’s Office, who refused to accept them.

BY KUDZAI KUWAZA

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