The Sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis, South African President Jacob Zuma, says the poisoned political environment in Zimbabwe is putting a strain on efforts to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and pave way for a free and fair election.
The GPA gave birth to the inclusive government bringing together longtime political foes President Robert Mugabe (Zanu PF), MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the smaller MDC formation.
Zuma said events showed continuing conflict, hence there was need to urgently address the problems bedevilling Zimbabwe.
“Reports from Zimbabwe continue to indicate the presence of conflict in that country, at times illustrating harsh exchanges between politicians and members of the armed forces and security forces in Zimbabwe,” Zuma recently told Sadc leaders during the regional bloc’s 31st summit in Luanda, Angola.
In his report, in NewsDay’s possession, Zuma said some of the key elements needed for a free and fair poll related to concepts of rule of law, freedom of association and assembly as well as electoral and media reforms.
“There are areas regarding those concepts that are in dispute,” he said. “Some of them have been referred to the political principals for intervention and, hopefully, those matters will be resolved sooner rather than later.”
Zuma said he was worried about activities which disrupted the smooth path to a clear roadmap expected to put to an end Zimbabwe’s political stalemate.
“One of the most unfortunate incidents in recent times was when some people went to the Zimbabwe Parliament and disrupted, on June 23, a hearing organised by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill,” he said.
Mobs of Zanu PF supporters stormed the august House, chanting party songs and slogans, beating up journalists and MPs, and intimidating the chairman of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, Zaka Senator Misheck Marava (MDC-T).
The party apparatchiks also manhandled and assaulted Hwange Central MP Brian Tshuma (MDC-T) and almost mistakenly beat up their own, Makonde MP Risipa Kapesa (Zanu PF), before pouncing on journalists Nqaba Matshazi and Levi Mukarati, while another group outside Parliament pounced on NewsDay photojournalist Aaron Ufumeli.
Zuma said the principals would soon meet Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, heads of other security and intelligence institutions and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, to ensure “full commitment to operate in a non-partisan manner consistent with the GPA”.
Zuma told the Sadc leaders there were accusations that the police were not willing to take reports and investigate instances of violence.
“In fact, the police reportedly arrested those who came forward to report the violations,” he said.
The Sadc facilitator said he was concerned about the failure or slow implementation of agreements between the parties on key issues.
“The parties have not established an implementation element within government to ensure decisions that are taken by the inter-party negotiators and endorsed by the political principals are implemented by line ministers,” Zuma said.
“Many of the unresolved matters are shifted to the political principals which, at times, takes too long before a resolution is found. To that extent, there are a number of outstanding matters that the political principals were supposed to resolve.”