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Comment: Mixed signals on GNU lifespan not acceptable


Conflicting statements about the lifespan of the government of national unity (GNU) from the three political parties that signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) are not sweet music to the majority of Zimbabweans.

Zanu PF insists that the GNU’s lifespan has come to an end while the two MDC parties argue that the coalition arrangement had no definite lifespan attached to it in the first place.

President Robert Mugabe is on record saying: “The constitution-making process has to be accelerated because the lifespan of this creature is only two years.

It started in February last year (2009), it must end.”

MDC-T national spokesman and MDC-N leader Welshman Ncube refute this.

“The GPA has no sunset clause,” said Chamisa while Ncube said that it was “not correct” to say the inclusive government “ends today” (Friday).

What we are witnessing is nothing new but the usual manipulative behaviour by those who rule us for political expediency that has nothing to do with the welfare of the nation.

The problem is that our politicians are so alienated from the majority that their actions and perceptions are guided by their insatiable appetites for power.

To these politicians the GNU is a creature to be manipulated for personal power while to the majority the GNU is a symbol of relief from suffering engendered by political violence, empty supermarket shelves, runaway inflation and unchecked corruption, among other things.

While the majority view the GNU as a symbol of hope for a new democratic dispensation through free and fair elections after envisaged reforms as spelt out in the GPA, our politicians have been fighting hard to ensure that they manoeuvre the GPA to satisfy their desire for power.

Consequently no meaningful reforms have been made under the GNU to ensure a conducive environment for free and fair polls.

Both President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are on record as saying that they were ready for elections yet the situation on the ground remains the same as that in 2008 when a bloody and disputed poll led to the formation of the shaky GNU.

To many Zimbabweans the intention by politicians to prematurely end the GNU and go for rushed polls in an environment similar to that of 2008 is a shuddering thought and justifiably so.

In recent weeks we have witnessed an upsurge in violence as political parties gear up for an anticipated election.

What boggles the mind is why the parties to the GPA are so obsessed with elections without ensuring that what was agreed in the GPA is implemented to the full.

It is not a question of whether Mugabe and Tsvangirai are ready for polls but a matter of holding transparent elections leading to the smooth handover of power for the benefit of ordinary Zimbabweans.

The GNU is supposed to be taken as a signal for real change not as a technical means to achieve power at the expense of the nation.

Parties to the GNU must sit down and review the progress of the GNU as required in the GPA and follow all the dictates of the agreement before they think of forcing an election down people’s throats.

They should not send conflicting signals to the people through contradictory statements because for the majority, what happens within the GNU is literally a matter of life and death.

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