The horse and rider deal

Some of us remember the ill-fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which was ostensibly based on the policy of partnership.

A leading politician at the time said the whites favoured partnership with blacks – as long as it was similar to that between a rider and horse. Could this be what Mugabe has in mind for the power-sharing deal asks TIM NYAHUNZVI.

HARARE. ¬- Some people are good at playing with words, sometimes in order to confuse. Take government of national unity, and unity government. How about the latest invention, inclusive government which has been proposed as the power-sharing deal for Zimbabwe?

The deal between Zanu (PF) and the two formations of the MDC has invariably been called inclusive or all-inclusive. Yet there is little inclusive ¬and definitely nothing all-inclusive about it. Civil society has protested about being excluded, pointing out the agreement is between three political parties.

Whatever their descriptions, so-called inclusive or unity governments mean one and the same thing. They are no good for democracy. They can be likened to a marriage of convenience, with one partner being dominant. Such marriages are necessarily temporary and their duration largely depends on the terms of the senior partner.

This explains why many Zimbabweans and progressive people elsewhere in the world were, are and still remain sceptical about the much-celebrated deal to solve the prolonged Zimbabwean crisis. It is clear that Zanu (PF), considering itself the senior partner, wants to call the shots and claim the lion’s share.

Several statements and happenings support doubts about Zanu (PF)’s sincerity or seriousness in the negotiations. President Robert Mugabe at one time declared he would announce a government in a matter of days, with or without Morgan Tsvangirai (and therefore presumably with Arthur Mutambara). On his return from the UN General Assembly, Mugabe promised a government by the weekend.

As late as early October, George Charamba, the secretary for information and publicity, confidently announced (through the unquestioning government media) that only two ministries remain to be shared. Needless to say, this was dismissed by the MDC, which pointed out that there has so far been no agreement on any of the 31 ministries.

Fortunately, the main formation of the MDC now seems to be treading more cautiously than when the power-sharing deal was being negotiated. By nature, negotiations mean give-and-take. But surely there must be a limit to what to give or accept. Sharing a loaf of bread does not mean giving the other fellow a few thin slices and expecting him to be content and say thank-you comrade.

What befell PF-Zapu after the unity accord with Zanu (PF) is a matter of history. One could argue that the current problems Zimbabwe is facing can be partly traced to or blamed on that accord. It turned out to be part of Zanu (PF)’s grand plan to make this country a one-party state under which we were all expected to think alike. The occasional dissenting voices were ruthlessly suppressed.

It will be extremely interesting to see how the new government will function or how it will debate issues in the national assembly. Are we going back to the days of nation-building and defending independence and nation al sovereignty? God forbid! – Nyahunzvi is a retired journalist and media trainer. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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