GNU Rift Poses Tough Task for Sadc

THE Sadc Summit to be held next week in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a difficult task in convincing President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai to bring to finality the outstanding issues threatening the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

The 14-member bloc is increasingly coming under pressure to resolve the stalemate between Zanu PF and Tsvangirai’s MDC, with calls for Sadc to be firm in pressing Zimbabwe to implement what they agreed on last September.

Sources in the MDC-T said while some progress has been made, there were serious issues threatening the stability of the inclusive government.

Tsvangirai’s MDC formation wants Sadc to ensure the full implementation of the GPA and to see key issues outlined in the January 27 Pretoria Sadc summit communiqué resolved. (See page 7 for full communiqué.)

These unresolved issues, they said, were related to the appointments of the provincial governors, Governor of the Reserve Bank and Attorney-General, the swearing-in of deputy Agriculture minister Roy Bennett, and the arrests of MDC-T legislators.

However, Zanu PF is maintaining that it is the MDC which has in fact not fulfilled key elements agreed to under the GPA.

Zanu PF is accusing MDC-T of not doing anything to address the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe and to stop the beaming of anti-Zimbabwe messages by “pirate” radio station.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba was quoted in the state media saying sanctions were the greatest threat to the survival of the inclusive government and that President Mugabe would draw the summit’s attention to the issue.

Meanwhile, head of a five-member delegation of the United States Congress, Congressman Gregory Meeks of the 6th District of New York told the Zimbabwe Independent that the removal of sanctions would depend on the commitment of all the parties to fulfilling the GPA.

“Outright human rights violations and other things — there has to be something that can show that there is going to be a change. I believe that the first thing that has to happen is that everybody, both sides, have to live up to their agreements with the Global Political Agreement,” Meeks said.

 “Show us that you can live up to that agreement and then that tells me that maybe we should change our policies because there is a difference. But if you can’t even live up to that agreement, how can I convince my colleagues to change the policies?” he said.   

The delegation was in Zimbabwe for a two-day visit during which they met Tsvangirai, Mugabe, Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo and the co-chairpersons of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution.

The Sadc summit of January26-27 resolved amongst other issues that the equitable distribution of ministerial posts would be reviewed after six months.

 MDC-T wants this review to be part of the summit in Kinshasa.

The review might see government ministries being reallocated if Sadc leaders adhere to its resolution.

The MDC-T source said: “The MDC is expecting that the review process will be part of the next Sadc summit agenda in Kinshasa and the MDC president plans to attend the summit with his delegation.”

Tsvangirai is expected, the source said, to make a separate submission for consideration of the Sadc chairman, South African government and the summit regarding the need for the review of equitable distribution of ministerial posts.

The inclusive government, the sources said, has also had problems related to interpretation of certain sections of the GPA, accusing other parties of implementing it in bad faith.

MDC-T will bring to the attention of Sadc the unprocedural alterations to the final Act of Constitutional Amendment 19.

The Act signed into law, the sources said, differed significantly from the Bill assented to by parliament, thereby rendering it null and void.

On the appointments of the provincial governors, Reserve Bank governor and Attorney-General, the MDC sources said these were done in violation of the Memorandum of Understanding.

These, the sources said, were not reviewed as outlined in the Sadc Communiqué of January 27.

The MDC-T now wants the posts of Governor of the Reserve Bank and Attorney-General to be declared vacant and subsequently filled in line with article 20.1.3 (p) of the GPA, which states that the president has to make such key appointments in consultation with the Prime Minister.

On the provincial governors, MDC-T wants the five people it chose to be sworn in this month and it is also demanding that Bennett be sworn in immediately.

It also wants the issue regarding the mandate of the Ministry of Information Technology, whose communication department was taken away, to be addressed by the summit.

“The chairing of Cabinet in the absence of President Mugabe is clearly outlined in the GPA but Zanu PF continues to subvert this issue. There is also continued abuse of the law and selective application of the rule of law,” said one source.

Meanwhile, Africa director at Human Rights Watch Georgette Gagnon said Southern African leaders should stop looking at Zimbabwe through “rose-coloured glasses”.

“The region’s leaders need to press Zimbabwe openly and publicly for human rights reforms to prevent the country from backsliding into state-sponsored violence and chaos.

Faith Zaba

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