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Toothless Jomic laid bare

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The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic), the principal body established to deal with issues of compliance with the Global Political Agreement (GPA), has been exposed for its ineffectiveness.

The committee was in Chimanimani at the weekend, trying to defuse tension in the area’s political hotbed of Nedziwa, where about a dozen people have fled their homes to seek refuge at their party offices in Mutare after threats were made on their lives.

Jomic officials were dispatched from Harare and also from the provincial capital of Mutare to Chimanimani, but they left with egg in the face.

Instead of bringing peace and fostering co-existence in the community, it appears the committee left communities more divided.

Pictures of senior members of the different political parties engaged in the violence that Jomic sought to quell, were splashed on newspaper pages yesterday, literally at each other’s throats.

The people that were supposed to be at the forefront counselling peaceful co-existence were the very ones beating each other up!

What better evidence of classic failure by this animal called Jomic. Jomic is made up of 12 members, shared equally between Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations. Its chairmanship rotates between the political parties.

When Jomic was constituted, expectations were that it would resolve issues that had remained hanging from the negotiations that led to the GPA of September 2008 and to deal with issues of violence.

The weekend spectacle at Nedziwa Business Centre provides the much-needed eye-opener on the extent of Jomic’s toothlessness. MDC-T victims of political violence who fled the area to go and live in party offices returned with the their party leaders back to the offices in Mutare because they had been told in no uncertain terms at the Saturday meeting that they could only remain in the area at their own risk.

Jomic, part of whose mandate is national healing, failed to bring peace to a community whose members it had brought together.

Those that attended the meeting said in fact, tensions had mounted further following the Jomic meeting.

“People were further divided. There was shouting at each other, threatening violence while those victims of violence who had been brought in the hope of rehabilitating them into the community were told openly they would be harmed if they stayed,” a participant said.

It is therefore as well that Sadc has decided to move in, seconding its officials to Jomic and to bring money to the committee. Without this, Jomic would have remained the toothless bulldog that it has proved to be since its inception.

It had become common knowledge, and still remains so until Sadc takes action, that Jomic had been reduced to irrelevance and redundancy, especially because it was not adequately equipped to deal with the high-level matters of serious political concern.

The best they could do was refer matters to the principals when complaints arose. The fact of the matter is that as it stands, Jomic has potential only in theory.

Political analyst Eldred Masunungure once equated the committee to that human body part called the appendix which could be removed without necessarily endangering one’s life.

Unless it is capacitated to expediently execute its duties, Jomic would just be another case of “job-for-the-boys” political gimmickry just to absorb shock, nothing else.

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