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Zimbabwe: Making a Bad Deal Work?
Feb 10, 2009 (090210)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"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
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
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
(http://www.sokwanele.com/zigwatch). 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
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
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:
- The parties shall endeavour to cause Parliament to pass the
Constitutional Amendment 19 by 5 February 2009.
- The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers shall be sworn
in by 11 February 2009:
- 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.
- 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 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.
- The appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney
General will be dealt with by the inclusive government after its
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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