IT is a hard feeling to think of coalition government partners as Zimbabwe’s most dishonest citizens.
These are three men who run the affairs of the country. The fortunes of millions of Zimbabweans depend on their goodwill. Yet events time and again force back the view that indeed these men are more economic with the truth than some of the citizens spending time in the hell that Zimbabwe’s jails have become.
The Sadc heads of state summit that ended in Namibia last month is a case in point.
Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s parties celebrated the breakthrough when mediator Jacob Zuma tabled a report showing that they had agreed to 24 of the 27 disputed issues. A 30-day implementation matrix to give effect to the agreements was the supposed panacea.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the leadership of Sadc, the vision of the facilitator and the Sadc secretariat,” was MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti’s response to the Sadc resolutions on Zimbabwe. “The people of Zimbabwe have long suffered and quest for real change. The Sadc roadmap is an excellent foundational stone towards the fulfillment of this vision,”
Mugabe’s party expressed similar hope that Sadc had finally unlocked the logjam.
Weeks after the summit, and with no movement to show implementation of any of the agreed positions, the parties have changed their tune. Before the ink on the Sadc resolutions has dried, signs are that the implementation matrix will not get serious attention.
Tsvangirai is disputing that he agreed to contents of a letter he is supposedly party to and on whose basis Zuma compiled his report. He rejects the contention that the text binds him to an agreement that ties the appointment of multi-party provincial governors to the lifting of sanctions. Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who penned the disputed letter on behalf of the three principals insists the premier did see a copy of the letter and agreed to the provisions.
Mugabe, on his side, has told his party members he will not give in to any further power-sharing concessions before the lifting of sanctions imposed on his family, and political and business associates by Western countries.
“As Zanu PF we have no intention of reneging on
our commitment to the GPA. But as you all
know, we have a resolution passed at the 2009 congress which says the party must not move an inch until sanctions are removed. Sanctions should go before we discuss the issue of governors,” Mugabe told members of his central committee, barely a week after the Sadc summit.
So Zuma’s report is out of the window. It was all a farce to excite Zimbabweans and regional leaders about agreements which in essence are non-existent. Zimbabweans, aware that continued power-sharing disputes are dragging their lives down, are not sure who to believe. The cost of this bickering to the economy is staggering.
Unlike the politicians, the economy does not lie. Jobs are being lost. Financial institutions, including the central bank, have shown the most visible appetite for retrenchments. The political environment should be stable and predictable for them to attract foreign money and grow the larger economy.
Banks’ financial statements for the half-year ending June 30 reveal the margin of this cost. The economy, which promised recovery in response to the early confidence ushered by the formation of the coalition administration, is grinding to a halt because government has become moribund.
Investors are still waiting on the edge, uncertain about how the unstable politics might affect their money if they dash in.
“Many companies are still faced with a number of viability challenges. The country is struggling to shake off the international perception on Zimbabwe’s perceived risk profile. The country’s inability to tap into the global capital markets for the much needed external lines of credit means that a sizeable number of companies have been deprived of the much-needed long-term funding for retooling purposes,” said BancABC in its 2010 first-half report.
“As a result, the local industries have struggled to increase their capacity utilisation beyond the prevailing levels of 30-40%,” said BancABC.
These are the harsh realities that coalition government principals have chosen to ignore. An election is not on the horizon, at least not next year despite public posturing by both Mugabe and Tsvangirai. What it means: Zimbabwe is stuck with this crop of lying leaders for a while.