AS THE dust settles from the much-misrepresented outcome of the Luanda SADC summit’s assessment of the political situation in Zimbabwe under the dysfunctional inclusive government; and as the embattled COPAC constitution-making process heads for a conclusive resolution one way or the other by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, the time has come for the political principals of these three parties to formally institute a final review of the state of their shaky and dysfunctional coalition government as required under Article XXIII (23.1)(c) of the GPA.
The time has come to put paid to a lot of political nonsense that is going on by instituting a formal and final review of the GPA whose widely acknowledged stalemate can only be resolved democratically, peacefully and constitutionally through a general election that must be held as soon as possible this year without fail.
Article XXIII (23.1)(c) clearly and unambiguously provides that “this Agreement (the GPA) and the relationship agreed to hereunder (the inclusive government) will be reviewed at the conclusion of the constitution-making process”. That time has come, given that the three political parties in the inclusive government are set to conclude the making of the COPAC draft constitution this month one way or the other.
In addition to the self-explanatory requirement of Article XXIII (23.1)(c) of the GPA, there are five major reasons why a formal and final review of the life of the inclusive government is now necessary.
In the first place, a final and formal review of the inclusive government has become mandatory because there are only 12 months to go before the lapse of the full 60-month life of the current Seventh Parliament upon which the government is constitutionally based. This short period of 12 months now left compared to the long 48 months behind us that have been wasted on the so-called reform front necessitates a final and formal review of the GPA because the number and type of reforms that can now be negotiated, agreed and implemented is significantly reduced if not altogether voided.
Put differently, time has become the number one enemy of those who keep desperately claiming that there can be no elections without reforms. Apart from the fact that it is totally false, uncivilised and undemocratic to claim that there must be reforms before elections because it’s not reforms that bring elections but elections whose outcome bring reforms, the time that is now left before the end of the life of Parliament is not enough to negotiate and agree on the kind of reforms wanted by those who don’t want elections to come before their purported reforms.
It is also important to remember that the three GPA political parties have different reform agendas that mix like oil and water, and it is only right that each party should carry its own reform agenda as part of its electoral manifesto and subject the reform agenda to the people’s will through an election.
That is to say the people should be the ones to decide which reform agenda they support, and in a democracy and in terms of the rule of law they can do that only through an election and not through negotiations.
The notion that reforms should be negotiated between only the three GPA political parties that have been twiddling their fingers over the last 48 months under the watch of President Zuma’s facilitation team, agreed without fail and implemented before the elections due within the next 12 months is crazy and barbaric and those pushing such an idea should be ashamed of themselves because they should know better.
Secondly, a major reason why a final and formal review of the GPA is now mandatory is that the SADC mediation facilitated by President Zuma from South Africa has – whether by design or default – relied on a blatantly, pervasively and arrogantly unilateral if not partisan and even irresponsible facilitation team whose destructive intent has been blinded by its grossly selective interpretation and application of the GPA. This has denied President Zuma the necessary facilitative position to be inclusively neutral while being guided at all times by all and not just some of the 25 Articles of the GPA.
A formal and final review of the last 48 months of the GPA will show that President Zuma’s facilitation team has exclusively preoccupied itself only with those Articles in the GPA that the team unfairly believes require action only from Zanu PF.
In this regard, and despite the fact that the inclusive government is comprised of Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, President Zuma’s facilitation team has promoted the wrong impression that “government” in Zimbabwe today only refers to Zanu PF. This sinister impression has given rise to an unpalatable situation in which the MDC formations are being enabled to eat and keep their cake at the same time by being in government while also being in the opposition.
As a result, SADC is being used by President Zuma’s facilitation team to justify and defend the anomaly in Zimbabwe of having a government that has an opposition institutionalised within itself and this explains why the inclusive government is utterly dysfunctional beyond reform.
In the third place, the time has come for the GPA to be formally and finally reviewed by the political principals of the three parties in government because of the dire consequences that the country has suffered from the selective interpretation and application of the GPA by President Zuma’s facilitation team that has not only resulted in many critical issues in the GPA being left out completely unattended including, for example, many issues relating to the partisan conduct of NGOs and their donors which is prohibited under the GPA.
This unfortunate approach by President Zuma’s facilitation team has also enabled Zimbabwe’s detractors, some of whom seek regime change in the country, to pursue their agenda on the strength of what is a selective interpretation and application of the GPA.
The situation has been so bad that even other neutral observers who understandably are well disposed to give Zuma the benefit of doubt have all relied on the facilitation team’s selective interpretation and application of the GPA to draw wrong and potentially dangerous conclusions about the political situation in Zimbabwe to the detriment of the country’s existential and national security interests.
For example, Article XVI (16.3) of the GPA provides that “non-governmental organisations involved in giving humanitarian and food assistance shall do so without discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and religion and in doing so, shall not promote or advance the interests of any political party or cause”. A formal and final review of the GPA will show that NGOs in Zimbabwe have rampantly used the funding they get from the Western donors that founded them to violate Article XVI (16.3) of the GPA with impunity while hypocritically calling on Zanu PF to “fully implement” the same GPA with support from their regime-change-seeking donors to advance the political interests of the two MDC formations.
Just like the NGOs they support, the US, UK, EU, New Zealand, Australia and Canada as regime-change-seeking donors have violated the GPA with reckless abandon in particular Article IX (9.2)(c) which provides that “no outsiders have a right to call or campaign for regime change in Zimbabwe”.
The record will show that while President Zuma tried but failed to use the recent Luanda SADC Summit to bar Zanu PF from calling for the holding of elections this year, his facilitation has not even tried to use the GPA to bar outsiders from calling or campaigning for regime change in Zimbabwe.
The record will also show that President Zuma’s facilitation team has not said anything about NGOs including the likes of the British DFID and the American USAID that are seriously violating Article XVI (61.3) of the GPA by abusing humanitarian aid to shamelessly advance the political interests of the MDC formations across the country.
On the other hand, and in very clear and now nauseating demonstration of its selective interpretation and application of the GPA, Zuma’s facilitation team used cantankerous Lindiwe Zulu after the Luanda Summit to claim that SADC will not allow an election (in Zimbabwe) to happen before “security sector realignment” adding that “... this is not a creation of externals. It is part of the GPA and it must be implemented before elections. SADC was very clear that all reforms and processes should be fulfilled before Zimbabwe goes for elections”.
Only God knows when this rubbish from President Zuma’s facilitation team will stop. Many Zimbabweans are beginning to pray that Zuma’s facilitation is not being used as a proxy to destabilise Zimbabwe because the reforms the team is pushing are against what is needed in even South Africa whose judiciary, media, military and economy are white dominated.
It is false and absurd for anyone to claim that the treacherous idea of “security sector realignment is not a creation of externals but is in the GPA”. That is absolute nonsense because that idea is not only a telling example of the terrible selective interpretation of the GPA by President Zuma’s facilitation team but is also indeed a creation of externals like the hopeless Zulu and other puppets of regime change who like her have been regurgitating American and European rubbish against Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s security sector is well-aligned to the legacy of our liberation struggle and heroic independence and there will never be any realignment away from this historic paradigm.
Fourthly, and with only 12 months to go after squandering a staggering 48 months out of 60 months, the GPA urgently needs to be formally and finally reviewed because there is now a growing fallacy that what could not be done in 48 months can be done in 12 months all this underwritten by a sinister suggestion that even those items on SADC’s “Zimbabwe Elections Roadmap with Timelines” signed by the GPA negotiators on July 6, 2011, should be implemented even if there is no agreement and there can be no agreement on them.
This self-serving stance which is being dangerously pushed by President Zuma’s facilitation team without reference to the law or the political situation on the ground, and whose catastrophic mantra is that “there should be no elections without reforms”, is potentially explosive and could lead to crisis and chaos if it is not robustly checked sooner rather than later through a formal and final review of the GPA leading to elections.
Otherwise the bottom-line on this point is that only those reforms that have been agreed and which are not at variance with Zimbabwe’s laws and Constitution will be implemented. Those who do not understand this immutable principle will have to wait until the cows come home while our country moves on.
The fifth and most worrying reason why the GPA must now be subjected to a formal and final review is the unfortunate fact that the last 48 months of the dysfunctional inclusive government has been characterised by a dangerous and unacceptable disregard of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which is not based on the GPA and whose benefits do not only extend to the three political parties that signed the GPA. Zuma’s facilitation team has been particularly notorious for disregarding and disrespecting the Constitution of Zimbabwe in favour of its grossly selective interpretation and application of the GPA.
A major pitfall of the SADC mediation in Zimbabwe which might end up as its graveyard is that it has unnecessarily and dangerously proceeded in a manner that leaves the false impression that Zimbabwe does not have a constitution or that Zimbabwe has a constitution crisis. The fact that Article VI of the GPA provides for a constitution-making process which has been taking place under COPAC has excited President Zuma’s facilitation team into misdirecting itself and others who have followed the SADC mediation either in pursuit of their malicious agenda or simply because they have given the SADC process the benefit of doubt.
The fact that – unlike in the team that assisted former President Thabo Mbeki’s SADC mediation work in Zimbabwe – there is no legal person in President Zuma’s facilitation team has made a bad situation worse. Even an amateurish review of the facilitation team’s approach should show beyond doubt that it has not only worked outside the Constitution of Zimbabwe but that it has also facilitated so-called reform agreements which are illegal and unconstitutional and which therefore cannot be implementable in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
For example, while a lot of noise continues to be made about the fact that President Zuma’s team facilitated agreement on media reforms whose essence is for the three GPA political parties to share board seats in ZBC, BAZ and Zimpapers, that agreement cannot be implemented because it is illegal and unconstitutional.
There is no law in Zimbabwe that would enable the GPA parties to parcel out board seats at ZBC, BAZ and Zimpapers to each other. Yet that is what Zuma’s facilitation team would like to see happen. That is not the rule of law. It boggles the mind why anyone especially in Zuma’s facilitation team would think or believe that it is a good thing to be illegal and unconstitutional in the name or for the sake of the GPA.
In this regard, a formal and final review of the GPA is necessary to realign it with the Constitution of Zimbabwe not least because there are now more parties interested in the political process of the country given that the general election must be held within, not in, but within the next 12 months.
The GPA was a solution to the stalemate of the last election in 2008 and it was used to form the government out of that inconclusive election, but it cannot surely be used to determine and structure the next election because — when it comes to the next election — the political interests of other parties and other voters are fully protected in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
What this clearly means is that in terms of our Constitution, the GPA and those who guaranteed it can only concern themselves about the outcome of the 2008 election and its consequences on the formation of the government after those elections but the same GPA cannot legally and constitutionally concern itself with the next elections and restrict that concern only to three political parties.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe comes first before the GPA and that means the next elections cannot be legally and constitutionally decided in terms of the GPA and this is why the time has come to formally and finally review it and put paid to a lot of nonsense that is going on.