HomeCommentCandid Comment: GNU issues: Setting the record straight

Candid Comment: GNU issues: Setting the record straight

I FELT very sad when I read the article by Allister Sparks in the Business Day October 31 edition (which  the Zimbabwe Independent carried on October 30) headed “Time for Zuma to stand up to Mugabe”.

Though I have never met him, I know that Sparks is a senior and experienced South African journalist. Because of this I have always expected that he would consistently respect the truth in everything he wrote.

However, the article to which I have referred contains a plethora of untruths, which he told to advance a particular agenda.

Then President of South Africa (Kgalema) Motlanthe, and other Sadc leaders did not “pressure” Tsvangirai and his MDC to “enter the power-sharing government” with President Mugabe, Zanu PF and the MDC (Mutambara).

All they did was to insist that the three parties to the Zimbabwe Global Political Agreement (GPA) should implement their own agreement to form an inclusive government. This decision was directed at the three signatories of the GPA, not merely the MDC. Contrary to what Sparks says, there was absolutely no “range of critical issues” which President Mugabe, arising out of the GPA, had not met.

Like other readers, I would appreciate it if you gave Sparks the space in your newspaper to detail which these “critical issues” were and what President Mugabe had done, constituting what Sparks describes as “playing games”.

The outstanding issue the MDC-T had raised during the negotiations as blocking the formation of the inclusive government was the allocation of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and not a “range of critical issues”.
The Sadc summit decided that this ministry should be co-managed by two ministers, one each from Zanu PF and the MDC-T.

In this regard Sadc only supported a suggestion that had been made by Tsvangirai, accepted by the other two Zimbabwe negotiating parties and incorporated into the agreement about the distribution of cabinet portfolios.

To respond to the argument that the Home Affairs arrangement would not work, Sadc undertook to review this, as well as the functioning of the inclusive government in general, after six months.

The Sadc Troika of the organ on politics, accompanied by members of the facilitation team, visited Zimbabwe last week precisely to honour this undertaking. The team would have visited Zimbabwe in September but due to pressing commitments in their respective countries it was decided that the team would undertake the exercise towards the end of October 2009.

Responding to the presentation of the MDC-T, Sadc said that the issue of the appointment of the governor of the Reserve Bank and the Attorney-General should be considered by the inclusive government.

These appointments were made legally, before the inclusive government was formed. Once the contractual terms of the incumbents in these positions came to an end, the president of the republic had a legal obligation to appoint the required successors. In this regard there was no requirement and there could be no requirement that he should consult private citizens, even if these were leaders of political parties. Indeed, nowhere does the GPA mention the two positions in question.

The GPA made no provision for the consultation which the MDC-T and Sparks claim was required. Rather, it said that once the inclusive government was formed, consultation with regard to senior government positions would take place among the parties in government regardless of the constitutional provisions empowering the president to make the relevant appointments.

Sadc accordingly said that the Reserve Bank and Attorney-General appointments should be considered by the inclusive government. This was because it recognised the fact that these appointments could not be made conditional to negotiation by political parties.

Since the formation of the inclusive government without regard to the constitutional prerogatives of the president and therefore to respect the GPA, new appointments of ambassadors and senior public officials have been negotiated through the inclusive government.

The same would have happened with regard to the governor of the Reserve Bank and the Attorney-General if the inclusive government was in place at the time when, legally, these appointments had to be made.

With regard to the Joint Operational Command of the security organs to which Sparks refers, and contrary to what he says, there is no requirement in the GPA that this structure, normal in many countries, should be disbanded.

The GPA prescribes that overall civilian supervision and direction of the security establishment should be exercised by a statutory National Security Council (NSC), presided over by the president and the prime minister, serving respectively as the chair and deputy chair of the NSC.

The MDC-T drafted the legislation to give effect to this GPA provision, cabinet and parliament accordingly approved the legislation, authorising the establishment of the NSC, which has been done.

With regard to the security establishment especially relating to what was the contentious Ministry of Home Affairs, which is responsible for the police, your readers need to know that MDC co-Minister of Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa, has stated firmly, in public, that the ministry is working well.

Sparks has an obligation to explain to your readers what President Mugabe has done or not done, relative to the implementation of the GPA, which leads him to insult the President as “Tricky Bob”, alleging that “he could not be trusted to honour” the letter and the spirit of the GPA.

Sparks should also give your readers the information he has, which has led him to come to the conclusion that the MDC (Tsvangirai) treasurer-general, Roy Bennett is facing “trumped-up charges of terrorism”, and is therefore innocent of the charges preferred against him. Alternatively, I am certain that Bennett would appreciate it immensely, as I would, if Sparks were to give evidence during Bennett’s High Court trial, demonstrating with the facts obviously at his disposal, that the charges against Bennett are entirely malicious.

This would help to assert the rule of law, and challenge the pernicious tendency towards the subversion of the principle and practice of due process, in many instances based on the politicisation of criminal misconduct.

What does Sparks mean when he writes about “Mbeki’s apologists” and urges President Zuma and the South African government to take action “if Mugabe doesn’t implement the GPA fully and tries to rule alone”? Exactly what has President Mugabe done or not done, relative to what is prescribed in the GPA, which justifies his characterisation by Sparks as “the errant president”, with whom President Zuma, “as guarantor”, must “deal firmly”?

It is clear to me that Sparks is committed to the achievement of a particular agenda with regard to Zimbabwe. Perhaps regime change as espoused by the West. It is very unfortunate that, rather than openly and honestly stating his objectives, as any honourable person should, he relies on the propagation of falsehoods to disguise his intentions.

The real outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA are: Removal of illegal sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States; Cessation of pirate radio broadcasts by the West denigrating the inclusive government by indulging in hate messages;  and the constitution-making process which the donor community is keen to hijack.

Simon Khaya Moyo is Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa.


Simon Khaya

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