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Zimbabwe: Making a Bad Deal Work?

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Feb 10, 2009 (090210)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

"The reality is that they have been co-opted as junior partners on its margins." Zimbabwean journalist Tendai Dumbutshena wrote in Pambazuka News, referrring to the January 30 decision by the MDC-Tsvangirai to accept formation of an "inclusive government" with Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF. And, indeed, few analysts other than partisans of the incumbent regime were optimistic that ZANU PF would truly share power or cease the use of violence against political opponents and human rights activists. But some hoped that the new government might signal some small relief from the downward spiral in economic and social conditions.

Zimbabwean activist Briggs Bomba, director of campaigns at Africa Action, in Washington, DC, told Inter Press Service that the deal was defective in many ways. "It shortchanges the people of Zimbabwe on the most basic aspirations that have defined democracy: human rights and social justice." But, he added, it may be "an opportunity for temporary relief of suffering that people are going through."

Whatever their analysis of the agreement, activists inside Zimbabwe are calling for full implementation of provisions in the agreement such as an end to violence and a return to the rule of law, and for the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), established under the agreement by the three coalition partners, to deal with complaints promptly, Particularly urgent as a test of credibility of the agreement, human rights groups stress, is release of activists detained in December and still held in Maximum Security, including Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains the January 30 statement by Morgan Tsvangirai on the MDC decision, and an article from a Zimbabwe correspondent of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting on Zimbabwean church reaction to the agreement.

AfricaFocus also recommends Sokwanele's Zimbabwe Inclusive Government Watch, with compiling detailed accounts of breeches of the unity agreement, as signed on September 15, 2008 ( As of February 4, ZIG Watch had recorded 809 breaches of the agreement by ZANU PF, 11 breaches by MDC-MT, and 2 breaches of the agreement by MDC-AM.

The commentary by Tendai Dumbutshena cited above is available at

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Zimbabwe, and a wide range of other background links, visit

For extensive background analysis on the crisis in Zimbabwe, see the special issues of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars Bulletin, as well as blog commentary, at

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

MDC-T has resolved to form an inclusive government with Zanu PF and MDC-M - Tsvangirai

Sokwanele Newsletter

Jan 30, 2009

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe Promoting Non-violent Principles to Achieve Democracy


Statement by Morgan Tsvangirai on the Resolutions made by the National Council Sokwanele : 30 January 2009

"Therefore, in accordance with the party's constitution, the political agreement we signed on September 15th 2008, and in the best interests of the welfare of all Zimbabweans, the MDC has resolved to form an inclusive government with Zanu PF and MDC-M" - Morgan Tsvangirai, 30 January 2009

Today, the MDC's National Council met as we once again find ourselves at an historic crossroads in our decade-long struggle for democracy. Throughout this struggle, the MDC has been guided by the principles of democracy and by the will of the people. This campaign is neither easy nor straightforward and often we have had to change the fronts on which we wage the struggle in response to changing circumstances and conditions.

The MDC was established to bring about change through the ballot box. This we achieved despite overwhelming odds, culminating in our historic victories in the March 29th Parliamentary, Presidential and local government elections.

Then, the brutal campaign of violence unleashed against our supporters by Zanu PF, forced us to withdraw from the June 27th event. Thus it became obvious that we could no longer wage our struggle via the polling booth.

We looked to the region to support our position and the will of the people by acknowledging the results of March 29th as the basis on which a new government should be formed. Subsequently, we succeeded in forcing Zanu PF to the negotiating table which became the new frontline in our quest for a democratic Zimbabwe. It was for this reason that we signed the Global Political Agreement on September 15th, 2008.

I know that you are very familiar with the events from that date. We in the MDC have abided by the letter and spirit of both the Memorandum of Understanding and the GPA. Sadly, Zanu PF was not the type of constructive and positive partner that we envisaged when we signed the GPA and therefore, the consummation of the agreement has been subject to unnecessary delays.

Nonetheless, we have consistently tabled our outstanding issues to SADC and we have remained committed to finding a negotiated settlement to the political crisis in Zimbabwe. This process culminated in the SADC summit on Monday 26th January, where the Southern African leaders made the following resolutions:

  1. The parties shall endeavour to cause Parliament to pass the Constitutional Amendment 19 by 5 February 2009.
  2. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers shall be sworn in by 11 February 2009:
  3. The Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall be sworn in on 13 February 2009, which will conclude the process of the formation of the inclusive government.
  4. The Joint-Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), provided for in the Global Political Agreement, shall be activated immediately. The first meeting of JOMIC shall be convened by the facilitator on 30 January 2009 and shall, among other things, elect the chairpersons;
  5. The allocation of ministerial portfolios endorsed by the SADC Extraordinary Summit held on 9 November 2008 shall be reviewed six (6) months after the inauguration of the inclusive government.
  6. The appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General will be dealt with by the inclusive government after its formation
  7. The negotiators of the parties shall meet immediately to consider the National Security Bill submitted by the MDC-T as well as the formula for the distribution of governors: While we felt that these resolutions do not represent an acknowledgement of all our issues, they do represent significant concessions on the part of Zanu PF and a recognition by SADC that our demands are justified as a first step towards a sustainable solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Our National Council's meeting today was therefore convened to evaluate the party's position in relation to the inclusive government. The concessions made by Zanu PF incorporate four out of the five outstanding issues. These four issues are the allocation of Provincial Governors, the National Security Legislation, Constitutional Amendment 19 and the breaches to the Global Political Agreement.

Thus, the parties have agreed on the sharing of Provincial Governors portfolios and have already met to begin negotiations on the allocation formula. Similarly, with regard to the National Security Legislation, the negotiators have met to discuss the draft bill submitted by the MDC.

It is clear therefore that these two issues are subject to negotiation and therefore constitute work in progress. It is hoped that the work in progress will be concluded to the satisfaction of all the parties as soon as possible.

The third issue relates to Constitutional Amendment 19. The MDC has insisted that Constitutional Amendment 19 is enacted by parliament and signed into law prior to the swearing in of the Prime Minister and this has been agreed to by the parties as reflected in the SADC communiqu‚.

On the issue of the equitable allocation of ministerial portfolios, SADC reiterated its position from November 9th, 2008 and expanded its commitment to review the allocation of all ministries, not only Home Affairs, within six months of an inclusive government being formed.

On the breaches to the GPA and the MOU, SADC resolved that the Joint-Monitoring Implementation Committee (JOMIC), is established to review and reverse these breaches. This committee comprises four members from MDC-T, four members from MDC-M and four members from Zanu PF.

However, the MDC is concerned that the issue of the unwarranted and illegal abductions and detentions of MDC members and other democratic activists needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and to this effect, the MDC will ensure an end to the persecution of all Zimbabweans.

In light of these resolutions, todays's debate centred around two issues:

Firstly, what will allow us the best opportunity to continue to pursue our goal of achieving a free, democratic Zimbabwe in line with the roadmap from our Congress of March 2006? and;

Secondly, what is the best way of alleviating the suffering of the Zimbabwean people, stabilising the economy and restoring and retaining some semblance of a normal society?

Let us make no mistake, by joining an inclusive government, we are not saying that this is a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, instead our participation signifies that we have chosen to continue the struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe in a new arena. This agreement is a significant milestone on our journey to democracy but it does not signify that we have arrived at our destination we are committed to establishing a democratic Zimbabwe regardless of how long that struggle takes us.

We have the majority in parliament, we control all the main urban councils and many rural councils, we will have control of 13 ministries and a presence in the key decision-making bodies of the executive.

Throughout the course of our deliberations today we referred to, and were guided by, the road map that we established for ourselves in March 2006, namely - negotiations, a transitional authority, a people driven constitution and fresh, free and fair elections.

In this respect, the National Council resolved that through joining an inclusive government in line with the GPA and the SADC resolutions the party will be able to achieve the following:

  • To move towards a new, democratic Zimbabwe by ensuring that a people-driven constitution is crafted and adopted.
  • That this inclusive government will serve as a transitional authority leading to free and fair elections.
  • The restoration of the people's freedoms through creating democratic space, restoring the rule of law and basic human rights.
  • The stabilisation and rebuilding of the economy and the provision of all essential services, in particular health care and education.
  • To maintain the principles of the working people's convention established in 1999.
  • To ensure that we begin a process of national healing and integration.

Therefore, in accordance with the party's constitution, the political agreement we signed on September 15th 2008, and in the best interests of the welfare of all Zimbabweans the MDC has resolved to form an inclusive government with Zanu PF and MDC-M.

The success of this inclusive government is dependent on many factors including the goodwill of the parties involved, the support of the people of Zimbabwe and the continued engagement and vigilance of SADC, AU and the broader international community in ensurinhg that all parties are bound by the letter and spirit of the GPA and the commitments made at the last SADC summit. In this respect, the party shall continue to monitor the implementation of the agreement, in particular in shall assess and review its position in the inclusive government after 6 months in line with the SADC resolutions.

Now is the time for us to put aside our political differences , to prioritise the welfare of the people in both our policies and our actions and to focus on stabilisation, development, progress and democratization. In this I know that we have the support of the vast majority of Zimbabweans, both in Zanu PF and the MDC, in the civil service,the workers and the business community and we look forward to working with you to rebuild our great nation.

In conclusion, I would like to note that in this struggle we have not been alone. I wish to acknowledge the commitment and perseverance of SADC to finding a negotiated solution to the political crisis. In particular, we have had the unwavering support of our regional allies who have stood by us and our democratic ideals throughout this process and we are grateful for their solidarity.

We would like to acknowledge the support and solidarity that we have had from trade unions, civil society and democratic peoples' and governments all over the world. We appreciate this support and know that we could not have come this far without them.

Most importantly of all, we have had the support of the people. A people who have stood by their right to live in freedom, with access to jobs, health care, education and prosperity in such a principled and peaceful manner.

I would like to appeal to all these forces to continue to support us in whatever decision we take because the struggle is not over, our commitment is not lessened, our vision is not dulled and our resolve has not been weakened.

We will deliver a New Zimbabwe to the people.

The struggle continues.

I thank you

Zimbabwe: National Healing Process Urged

Chipo Sithole

7 February 2009

Institute for War & Peace Reporting (London)

[Chipo Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR reporter in Zimbabwe.]

Harare - Emmanuel Chiroto, an opposition councillor and mayor of Harare, is moved to tears as he recalls the abduction and brutal murder of his wife, Abigail, by armed militia loyal to President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party during the blood-soaked period preceding the June 27 presidential run-off election.

"Nothing will ever bring my wife back, but the perpetrators of this are still there roaming the streets," he told IWPR. "Justice must be served and if [the newly formed] inclusive government fails to deal with this issue there will never be national healing. How do I work with people who murdered my wife? They must tell me who sent them to kill my wife and how they did it. There has to be a way to secure justice. Our hearts are sore."

In terms of the agreement signed in September by Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway MDC faction, which provided for a government of national unity, to which the MDC finally agreed on January 30, also calls for a process of national healing in Zimbabwe, but does not say what form this should take.

It also omits to mention whether senior members of ZANU-PF and the military, who are accused of masterminding the political violence, including the murder of more than 200 people in the run-up to the June vote, should face justice.

According to prime minister-designate Tsvangirai, senior members of ZANU-PF should face trial for political violence, though he does not believe Mugabe himself should be tried. ZANU-PF, however, and Mutambara's faction of the MDC believe that any action taken should be aimed at "achieving national healing rather than punishment and retribution".

Chiroto, one of 45 MDC councillors in Harare, is unequivocal on the issue - for him punishment of those who murdered his wife is the only acceptable option.

"I have problems forgetting and forgiving the people who killed my wife," he said. "Justice must one day be meted out to whoever organised the killing. What do I tell my son when he grows up?"

A hit squad descended on Chiroto's Hatcliffe home on June 16 last year, the day after he was elected mayor, firebombing the house and reducing it to cinder. The attackers then seized 27-year-old Abigail and the couple's four-year-old son, Ashley, and bundled them into one of two double-cab trucks with no number plates. Some of the kidnappers wore military uniforms, said witnesses. Chiroto was not at home at the time.

On June 18 the dreaded phone call came - Abigail's body had been discovered on a farm near Borrowdale - her head crushed, her tongue sliced off, probably to muffle her screams, and her eyes gouged out.

Church leaders in Zimbabwe have called on parties to the inclusive government to establish a truth and reconciliation commission, TRC, similar to that set up in South Africa to expose apartheid-era crimes, to investigate the violence that followed the disputed March 29 general election which was won by the MDC but without a sufficient majority for Tsvangirai to become president without a run-off vote.

A 20-strong church delegation comprising representatives from the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference and the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, ZCA, met Tsvangirai on February 2 and agreed to support the new government, but requested the establishment of a TRC.

ZCA spokesman Raymond Motsi told IWPR that there was a need to resolve the divisions and injustices of the past. However, he said this would only be possible if there was full disclosure by perpetrators of human rights violations and other wrongs as well as some form of justice for victims.

"Churches are saying the truth, justice and reconciliation process should start once a new inclusive government is in place. That should mark the beginning of the transitional justice system," Motsi said. "This process should not be left to the political parties alone. It should not be elitist and should not be a political decision between ZANU-PF and the MDC."

A spokesman for the civil society group the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition believes that "joint peace rallies should be convened by leaders of all parties to promote peace and reconciliation. True peace and lasting unity will only be achieved once past human rights abuses are fully addressed".

The former archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel peace laureate, Desmond Tutu, who led South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and, in the past, has called for a military invasion of Zimbabwe to topple Mugabe, has now urged world leaders to back the inclusive government in the interests of reconstructing the shattered lives of the Zimbabwean people. He has also appealed for an end to the "totally unacceptable" violence.

"My heart aches for Zimbabwe. Your countrymen and women have suffered greatly," he said. "It is in your power to stop the violence if you act as one. You have an opportunity now to stand up for peace."

But a defiant Mugabe, who has denied orchestrating the election-related violence that killed and injured hundreds and displaced thousands, has demanded security guarantees for himself and his Joint Operations Command - a think tank of army generals who reportedly planned and executed the violence.

Official sources say secret guarantees of immunity against prosecution were negotiated between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, facilitated by SADC-appointed broker, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and include crimes committed as far back as the 1980s, when thousands of opponents of ZANU-PF were massacred in Matabeleland; the murders that took place during the land grab initiated in 2000; the brutal army-led Operation Drive Out Filth of 2005, which left more than 700 000 homeless after bulldozers moved into townships and flattened homes; and last year's election-related violence.

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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