Thursday, July 23, 2009

Government of National Unity Continues to Crack as SADC Silence Prevails

By Alex Bell
22 July 2009

Cracks of disunity in the coalition government have continued to appear more than five months after the unity formation came into being, and there is still no word from the South African Development Community (SADC) on intervening.

Serious human rights violations, including assaults and arrests, as well as what appears to be a deliberate plot to whittle down the MDC majority in Parliament, are said to be creating serious and understandable discord in the unity formation. Yet another MDC legislator was jailed this week on spurious charges, while two MDC MPs were unlawfully suspended from parliament. At the same time, the fight over the reformation of the constitution has now sparked fears of a resurgence of violence, after it emerged that ZANU PF had deployed youth militia and war veterans to lead a campaign for support of the Kariba Draft, favoured by Mugabe. Youth militia in schools have already seen teachers flee their posts out of fear of renewed persecution, after what happened during last year’s political violence.

So while the government leaders have slowly come to agreement on a few issues - most recently an agreement to convene the National Security Council - critical reforms are clearly still a long way off.

The MDC earlier this year sent a letter to SADC to intervene on the outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), a role SADC, as guarantors of the deal, is meant to fulfil. The MDC also presented a document detailing more than 700 incidents of breaches of the GPA by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF, but to date there has been no move by SADC to address the issues.

A summit that was mooted to begin at the end of this month is now widely believed to have been set down for September. It is understood that despite the plea for intervention from the MDC, the regional body is waiting for its first report from the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), which is expected in mid-August, more than six months after the government was formed. JOMIC, a tripartite group of high-level party members, is supposed to ensure that the unity government adheres to the GPA in full.

JOMIC is comprised of four members of the Mutambara MDC (Professor Welshman Ncube, Frank Chamunorwa, Edward Mkhosi and Priscilla Misihairambi-Mushonga), four members of the Tsvangirai MDC (Elton Mangoma, Elias Mudzuri, Tabita Khumalo and Innocent Changonda) and four members from ZANU PF (Nicholas Goche, Patrick Chinamasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Oppah Muchinguri.)

MDC national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday explained there has been no response from SADC and there is an urgent need for the regional body to intervene. He also said there was frustration and anger within the party over what he called the ‘non-existence’ of JOMIC, saying the group had done nothing to ensure the implementation of the GPA.

“JOMIC is toothless, comatose even, and they have let people down,” Chamisa said. “If they report back to SADC it will only be about JOMIC’s death and disfunctionality.”

SW Radio Africa

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