It’s time to address GPA shortcomings


Zimbabwe has drifted so far from the terms agreed between political leaders in 2009 that it is difficult to believe there was any common ground in the first place.

What happened, we may well ask, to the opening of the airwaves? Zanu PF complains about what it likes to call “pirate” radio stations while promoting an agenda of hate and chronic amateurism that poisons the political climate. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe remains improperly constituted.

What happened to the land audit that was designed to demonstrate accountability and equity in the land redistribution process? It has disappeared off the political radar. So has the Economic Consultative Council.

Then there was the issue of Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana whose appointments like those of provincial governors were entirely arbitrary and in violation of agreed procedures.

The claim that permanent secretaries were professional and independent of partisan pressure proved laughable.

Nothing much has changed as Zanu PF seeks to claw back the space it lost in 2008. Compounding all this is the MDC’s inability to articulate the values that underpin our democratic transition.

Instead, they are preoccupied with building houses, acquiring vehicles, and living life on the hog.

There seems no sense of duty to the nation that the party kicked off with in 2008.

The GPA is manifestly unfulfilled and, therefore, the country cannot hope to attract aid and investment on the scale needed for national recovery.

The fundamental question, therefore, is: Where are we heading? There is no point whatsoever in holding elections this year when the main parties are unable to agree on the ground rules set out in the GPA terms. During South Africa’s Codesa talks, progress was made on the basis of confidence-building between the principal parties.

That doesn’t exist here. The parties are at each other’s throats.

So the problem remains: What do we do next when a chasm separates the principal negotiators?

At least South African President Jacob Zuma has declined to be part of the problem as his predecessor was.

What Zimbabweans should be doing in 2012 is constructing platforms for change. Why are Posa, Aippa and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act still being used as weapons in the State’s private war with the media and civil society?

What agenda for reform can the MDCs provide?

With the exception of a small coterie around President Mugabe and bogus support groups, nobody wants Zanu PF to continue a day longer than it has to. It lost the last election and will probably lose the next.

It is now intent upon inflicting as much damage as possible in the time remaining. Hence the generals!

But what can the former opposition provide in the way of inspiration and concrete reform? That’s what we need to know.

Change is more compelling than ever. Yet the nation has no agenda and no leadership. It is time to remedy those shortcomings as a priority.