GNU : The successes and failures

Posted: 18/02/2011 in GNU, GPA, MDC, MDC-N, MDC-T, Mugabe, Mutambara, Politics, Tsvangirai, ZANU-PF

TWO years ago the Government of National
Unity ( GNU ) was set up on the basis of the
Global Political Agreement ( GPA) . The
agreement came about as a result of
inconclusive elections which had seen President
Robert Mugabe being beaten by Morgan
Tsvangirai and Zanu PF losing its parliamentary
majority to the two MDC formations.
The GNU and its implementation framework
achieved a number of things for all the three
political parties and the people of Zimbabwe as
a whole . However , two years later Zanu PF and
Mugabe claim the inclusive government is not
working well . This is in spite of the fact that the
agreement and its attendant governance
structure — the GNU — gave Mugabe legitimacy
and the people of Zimbabwe room to breathe in
a much better economic environment .
Has the Government of National Unity failed ?
Who says it has failed and why ? What indicators
can we use to measure its success or failure?
Why does Zanu PF or Mugabe want the inclusive
government to come to an end ?
I’ m convinced an end of the inclusive
government may bring us back to the pre – 2008
days and we may be back to another
inconclusive election or disputed election . A
quick -fix election and a premature end of the
GNU together with the GPA may not be a step
forward but rather may see us moving around
in circles . The GNU can only be judged
according to the framework that created it
which is the GPA . Pertinently there are over 27
areas of the GPA which the GNU has failed to
implement . This article primarily focuses on the
successes and failures of the GNU as envisioned
and anticipated in the GPA
What Zanu PF wanted from GNU
Mugabe and Zanu PF needed three things from
the GNU and these included but are not limited
to :
Time to retreat, re -organise whilst allowing the
two MDCs to deal with the harder issues of
reviving the government and getting the
government to work again;
Removal of sanctions / restrictive measures or
whatever one chooses to call them .
The GNU however has frustrated Zanu PF in the
following ways:
It has forced them on the path of fundamental
democratic reforms — a concept that they are
quite alien to; It forced Mugabe to be more
accountable to GPA partners although he
routinely ignores them . Surprisingly he has been
more than keen to consult the other principals
on the Welshman Ncube – Arthur Mutambara
saga ;
It has limited their access to state resources.
The two MDCs strategic objectives were to gain
access to the levers of power, to influence the
economic and political direction of the country
through fundamental democratic reforms . The
MDC formations have not totally achieved these
objectives as power has continued to be vested
in Zanu PF and Mugabe as evidenced by his
unilateral appointments of ambassadors and
The MDC formations have managed to provide
stability in the government through their control
of critical social and economic ministries. It
must be remembered that when the GNU was
created the economy and the social sector had
literally been decimated by Zanu PF . Whilst the
MDC formations were religiously implementing
most of the items of the GPA, Zanu PF was
nicodemously rebuilding its structures and doing
all it could to make sure the agreement failed .
This worked for as long as it gave the party
space to re -organise. This is not to say that all
MDC ministers are angels or paragons of virtue
and all Zanu PF ministers are devils and
demons, but Zanu PF ministers represent and
are part of an evil and mafia – like system whilst
the two MDC formations purport to be part of a
system that is epitomised by democracy
( whatever their understanding of it ) .

Stumbling blocks for GPA

If we were to use measurable and verifiable
indicators to measure the inclusive
government’ s success or failure rate the GPA is
the most useful barometer to use . Obviously
there were many intrinsic and extrinsic factors
that influenced failure or ability to implement
the GPA. Amongst these factors are :
Political will or lack thereof from the three
political parties
Ineffectiveness of the GPA in implementation
and lack of oversight structures.
External factors or mechanisms such as Sadc ,
the AU and the facilitator , South Africa, as
envisaged in article 22 . 6
Achievements — economic policies
The GNU has managed to bring sanity to the
economy through the Short Term Emergency
Recovery Programmes — Sterp I and Sterp 2 —
which have managed to address issues
pertaining to runaway inflation and economic
instability. Basic commodities such as bread,
milk and mealie -meal are now readily available
even though the country ’ s supermarkets have
been flooded with foreign products to the
detriment of locally produced goods . However
four years ago the situation was completely
different as it was not difficult not only to get
relish for sadza but even to get sadza for the
relish. The inclusive government must be
commended for this .
The inclusive government is yet to effectively
conclude the setting up of the National
Economic Council which is supposed to consist
of representatives of the parties, the
manufacturing sector, commerce , finance ,
labour , academia and other stakeholders ( Article
3 c of GPA ) .

Sterp as a GNU indicator

The inclusive government’ s economic policy,
Sterp , appears to have been rather over
ambitious in that it sought to solve a broad
spectrum of socio -economic and political issues
such as politics and governance issues ; social
protection — food, health education and
vulnerable sectors ; economic stabilisation
including capacity utilisation in all sectors ;
restoring the value of the Zimbabwean
currency; ensuring availability of basic
commodities and rehabilitation of collapsed
social, health and education sector ( as in the
2011 national budget statement ) .
However the economy was beginning to show
some signs of life with investors showing
interest in the country . Despite these positives ,
Zanu PF went on its usual path of economic
suicide by tabling controversial indigenisation
laws, demanding elections , engaging in an
organised and confusing fresh spate of invasions
and violence in and around Harare.

Failures of the inclusive govt

The GNU failed to implement the following
aspects of its own bible — the GPA . These
failures include ;
The constitution making process as articulated
in article 6 missed all its deadlines and was
characterised by intimidation , disorganisation
and chaos.
The govt failed to promote equality, national
healing , cohesion and unity — it only managed
to set up a structure and a secretariat of the
War veterans and Zanu PF youths continue to
disrupt free political activity as evidenced by the
mayhem in Harare .
When it comes to the rule of law, respect for
the constitution and other laws , the police have
applied the law selectively and have stood by as
Zanu PF youths engaged in looting and violence
in Harare . The police instead as evidenced by
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri ’ s
statements on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings show that they have taken sides with
the perpetrators and arrested victims .
State organs such as the police and the army
have failed to be impartial with senior officers
openly siding with Zanu PF and declaring that
change in Zimbabwe cannot be brought about
by a mere pen ( in reference to voting/
elections ) . The GPA is abundantly clear in stating
that state organs and institutions do not belong

Friday , 18 February 2011 10 : 25
By Dumisani Nkomo

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