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Mugabe must walk the talk

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President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara finally met on Wednesday and as usual reached a number of agreements meant to rescue their dysfunctional inclusive government.

Mutambara and Tsvangirai told journalists after the meeting that an amicable solution had been found to the contentious re-appointment of Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.

Chihuris term expired on January 31 and there were claims Mugabe had already renewed his contract without consulting Tsvangirai.

According to Mutambara, it was agreed Chihuri was only working in an acting capacity until the Police Service Commission has been regularised and made its recommendations to the President.

The commission would make recommendations to the President on possible replacements and this means Chihuris re-appointment cannot be done outside the Constitution as Zanu PF sympathisers had wanted.

The principals appear to have found common ground around a number of issues including stalled media and electoral reforms, hate speech, violence, sanctions and the need to rein in Zanu PF ministers who continue to boycott the Council of Ministers chaired by Tsvangirai.

Mutambara and Tsvangirais impressive outline of the issues discussed and agreed upon by the principals would naturally give hope to Zimbabweans who are fast losing confidence in the inclusive government, which has delivered very little since its formation in 2009.

But experience has taught us that without clear timelines for implementation, these agreements are meaningless.

The principals meet every Monday to review progress made by the coalition, but there is nothing on the ground to show for their efforts save for the lofty statements pledging commitment to address outstanding issues.

The three parties have been going back and forth on important media and electoral reforms from the day they agreed to form the inclusive government. It has now become clear Zanu PF wants elections under the current environment where it hopes to use the uneven playing field to its advantage.

The fact that Mugabe was absent at the Press conference convened at Tsvangirais residence further fuels doubts on the veteran rulers commitment to the agreements that were reportedly reached.

Mugabe is known for somersaults and it wont come as a surprise to see his lieutenants doing the exact opposite of what the principals agreed. Agreements on media and electoral reforms are nothing new and we wonder what gave Mutambara and Tsvangirai confidence that Mugabe will behave differently this time.

Mugabe has refused to budge on his unilateral appointments of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, which happened before the inclusive government was sworn in but after the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

There are also the appointments of provincial governors, ambassadors and judges, which were done without consulting Tsvangirai and contrary to Article 20 of the GPA, which states that the President can only make key appointments in consultation with the Prime Minister.

We can only hope that Mugabe has seen the importance of putting Zimbabwe first and sticks to the agreements he reportedly reached with his coalition partners. Its time he walked the talk!

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