UTTERANCES by President Robert Mugabe at Zanu PF’s central committee meeting last Friday that South African President Jacob Zuma’s working visit a fortnight ago drew a blank in putting closure to the outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA) came as a shock.
They were disingenuous because Zuma had a week earlier told the media that his three-day intensive negotiations in Harare with partners in the inclusive government had culminated in a “package of measures” to resolve the sticking points. Yesterday was set as the deadline for the talks and that a report detailing timeframes of the implementation of the measures would be submitted to Zuma.
Mugabe adamantly told the central committee that there was no deal reached during Zuma’s visit and that Zanu PF would not concede to the demands of the MDC formations unless and until the United States, Britain and the European Union lift sanctions and foreign “pirate” radio stations ceased broadcasts into the country.
In a dissembling act, the ageing leader further claimed that the reappointment of central bank czar Gideon Gono, hiring of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and the appointment of provincial governors were not and should not be outstanding issues of the GPA.
Mugabe continues to deliberately mislead not only his party supporters, but Zimbabweans as a whole by prevaricating on agreed positions of the Sadc facilitated GPA by clutching at straws in a desperate attempt to renegotiate the deal in his favour.
It is common cause that Sadc held an extraordinary summit in January 2008 in South Africa and, among other things, stated in their communiqué that Gono, Tomona and governors were outstanding issues. This was restated at the Sadc Troika meeting in Maputo last November.
The January 2008 summit set the timelines for the formation of the inclusive government and the review of the GPA.
It is, therefore, insincerity and intransigence of the highest degree for Mugabe to attempt to alter the GPA and at the same time a shameful act to suggest that Zuma was economical with the truth when he announced to the world that the partners in the inclusive government had agreed on a “package of measures” to resolve the sticking issues.
Despite Mugabe’s utterances and his politburo’s decision on the talks, it was strange that Zuma and his facilitation team decided to remain mum when their reputations were on the line. Zimbabweans remain unsure who to believe on the progress or lack of it in the negotiations between the wily old fox Mugabe, and Zuma.
Zuma should come out in the open and shame Mugabe by announcing to the world the “package of measures” the partners in the marriage of convenience agreed on a fortnight ago. When dealing with people like Mugabe who have a bagful of political tricks accumulated over 30 years of rule, megaphone diplomacy becomes necessary so that everyone is informed.
I was disturbed when I read reports that Zuma’s facilitation team currently in Harare was unfazed by Zanu PF’s statements that there was no progress at the negotiating table. The team was reportedly adamant that an agreement in principle was reached, but strangely they do not want to unpack the deal for the benefit of long-suffering Zimbabweans. We need to know the nature of the agreement and who among the partners was backtracking on its implementation. Negotiating in secret has proved the greatest undoing in the implementation of the GPA.
The swearing in yesterday of commissioners to serve on various constitutional commissions by Mugabe should not be viewed as a breakthrough in the current impasse. We should not be blinded by that move because the commissioners were appointed last December and yesterday was just a confirmation ceremony.
I am tempted to agree with political analysts
who think Mugabe’s latest act of intransigence was a culmination of succumbing to pressure
from hardliners in the politburo and the central committee who blindly argue that the coming in of the MDC formations had not brought any value addition.
The hardliners — who now treat Mugabe as their prisoner — are of the view that the introduction of multi-currencies into our payment system resulted in the slow and painful recovery of the economy. They don’t care about the goodwill, the confidence and the political stability the inclusive government brought.
It is the same hardliners who are pushing for elections next year despite clear evidence on the ground that the country is not ready for early polls. The people do not want the elections. They are afraid that as in the past, Zanu PF will unleash violence to win at all cost.
It is common cause that since Zanu PF’s formation in August 1963 it has been consistent on one issue — violence — and will definitely unleash it because in all fairness it will never be retained as a ruling party if elections are free and fair.