Talks To Resolve the Political Impasse in Zimbabwe

After the
signing of the global political agreement on 15 September 2008, the
parties to the agreement held talks regarding the allocation of
portfolios on September 18, but failed to reach an agreement. They then
called in the negotiators on September 19, but again failed to reach an
agreement as both parties wanted to hold all of the most important
portfolios of finance and home affairs.  On September 30, President
Robert Mugabe and Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai met again but they were unable
to reach an agreement on the allocation of Cabinet portfolios and "the
matter was referred to the mediator, the three met once again in Harare
on October 4 for talks on the distribution of portfolios, but could not
reach an agreement. Both parties and acknowledged the failure to reach
an agreement  with the  MDC-T charging on October 5 that all of the
Cabinet portfolios were actually in question, not just the two
Ministries of Finance and Home Affairs, as had been claimed by ZANU PF.

The negotiators met briefly on October 7 after the parties failed
to reach an agreement, with the South African government confirming
that Mr. Mbeki was still available to continue with mediation. An
attempt by ZANU PF to unilaterally allocate ministries to all parties
was met with resistance by the MDC T. The facilitator was then called
in and the parties met for over seven hours on October 14 and the
following day but no agreement was reached. On October 20, SADC met in
Swaziland but Mr. Tsvangirai failed to attend after he was issued with
a single entry visa on a temporary document. The meeting was later held
in Harare and was again unsuccessful. On November 24, Mr. Tsvangirai
called upon the facilitator to step down arguing that he was biased and
had no appreciation of the urgency of problems in the country but
another meeting was held in South Africa. On December 13, the draft
constitutional amendment was published in the government gazette which
marked a major step towards the formation of an inclusive government in
Zimbabwe.  On January 4, President Robert Mugabe relieved 12 ministers
and deputy ministers who had lost their seats in Parliament from the
cabinet. Another SADC meeting was on 27 January 2009 which resolved
some outstanding issues on the negotiations and called upon the parties
to the talks to ensure the immediate formation of the all-inclusive
government. Accordingly on February 5, both houses of parliament passed
the unity government bill unanimously after it was fast -tracked. The
resolution of the political impasse in Zimbabwe was well timed in that
it took place before the AU Summit which endorsed the global agreement.

The Zimbabwe Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC)
to oversee a unity government, when it is formed, were established. The
committee's mandate is to ensure that a unity government proceeds
according to the political agreement signed last September 2008. The
Committee has three chairmen, one from each of the country’s main
parties. It was inaugurated on 30th January, 2009 in compliance with
the SADC resolutions. The following comprise the committee:

MDC-T: Elton Mangoma (co-chairman), Elias Mudzuri, Thabita Khumalo and Innocent Chagonda. 

MDC-M: Welshman Ncube (co-chairman), Frank Chamunorwa, Edward Mkhosi and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Zanu-PF: Nicholas Goche (co-chairman), Patrick Chinamasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Oppah Muchinguri.

the committee met, it was reported that one party had not received
instructions from its principle to deliberate on the issues of their
mandate which led to the temporary halt of any meaningful
deliberations. The committee has a lot of work on its hands given the
complexity of issues and divergence of views between the parties.

Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the two Deputy Prime Ministers,
Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mutambara, were sworn in at State House.
Under the Interparty Political Agreement signed on September 15 by the
political parties. The number of Ministries allocated to each party was
specified as ZANU-PF 15, MDC-T 13 and MDC-M 3 giving a total of 31
Cabinet Ministers. ZANU PF announced that it would appoint 21 names
contrary to the 15 that was agreed on. This was 8 more positions for
ZANU PF, 1 for the MDC T and MDC M respectively. This was ZANU PF's
ploy to accommodate their cronies who would have otherwise lost seats.
It was also meant to inflate their numbers in cabinet given the fact
that failure to agree at the National Security Council meeting would be
referred to cabinet. It is unfortunate that such machinations would be
perceived to be bad political will. The ministers would have been
ministers of state who also sit in cabinet. A compromise was reached
and ZANU PF appointed 18 ministers and 15 for MDC T. The following were
announced as cabinet ministers:

ZANU-PF                                                                              Ministry

1.   Kembo Mohadi [MP Mat South]                                      Home Affairs

      Minister in last government]

2.   Emmerson Mnangagwa [MP Midlands]                           Defence

      Minister in last government

3.   Patrick Chinamasa [Appointed Senator]                          Justice and Legal Affairs

      Minister in last government

4.   Herbert Murerwa [Elected Senator Mash East]                Lands and Rural Resettlement

      Minister in a previous government

5.   Simbarashe Mumbengegwi [Elected Senator Midlands] Foreign Affairs

      Minister in last government

6.   Nicholas Goche [MP Mash Central]                                 Transport and Infrastructural Development

      Minister in last government

7.   Ignatius Chombo [MP Mash Central]                               Local Government, Urban and Rural Development

      Minister in last government

8.   Obert Mpofu [MP Mat North]                                          Mines and Mining Development

      Minister in last government

9.   Joseph Made [Appointed Senator]                                   Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development

      Minister in last government

10. Francis Nhema [MP Midlands]                                         Environment and Natural  Resources Management

      Minister in last government

11. Stan Mudenge [MP Masvingo]                                         Higher and Tertiary Education

      Minister in last government

12. Sithembiso Nyoni [F] [MP Mat North]                            Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development

      Minister in last government 

13. Webster Shamu [MP Mash West]                                     Media, Information and Publicity

      Minister of State in Presidents Office

14. Olivia Muchena [MP Mash East]                                      Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development

      Minister in last government

15. Saviour Kasukuwere [Mash Central]                                Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment

      Deputy Minister in last government

16. Walter Mzembi [MP Masvingo prov]                               Tourism and Hospitality Industry

      Deputy Minister in last government

Ministers of State in the President's Office

17. Didymus Mutasa [MP Manicaland]                                  Minister of State for Presidential Affairs

      Minister in last government

Sydney Sekeramayi [Elected Senator Mash East]            Minister of
State for National Security in     the President's Office

      Minister in last government

The following were invited for swearing-in but were actually not sworn in as they formed the excess of members from ZANU PF.

John Nkomo [Appointed Senator] and Former Speaker and Minister in a previous government

David Parirenyatwa [MP Mash East] and Minister in last government

Flora Buka [F] [MP Midlands] and Minister of State in Presidents Office

Paul Mangwana [MP Midlands] and Minister in last government

Sylvester Nguni [MP Mash West] and Minister in last government

MDC-T                                                                   Ministry

1.   Giles Mutsekwa [MP Manicaland]                         Home Affairs

2.   Tendai Biti[MP Harare]                                      Finance

3.   Paurina Gwanyanya [MP Harare]                         Labour

4.   Nelson Chamisa [MP Harare]                             Information Communication Technology

5.   Fidelis Mhashu [MP Harare]                               Housing and Social Amenities

6.   Joel Gabuza Gabbuza [MP Mat North]             State Enterprises and Parastatals

7.   Elton Mangoma [MP Manicaland]                    Economic Planning and Investment Promotion

8.   Elias Mudzuri [MP Masvingo Prov]                     Energy and Power Development

9.   Eric Matinenga [MP Manicaland]                          Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs

10. Eliphas Mukonoweshuro [MP Masvingo Province]          Public Service

11. Henry Madzorera  [MP Harare]                                        Health and Child Welfare

12. Theresa Makone [MP Harare]                                          Public Works  

13. Heneri Dzinotyiwei [MP Harare]                                      Science and Technology

14. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo [MP Bulawayo]                         Water Resources and Development

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office

15. Gordon Moyo [no parliamentary seat]


1.   Welshman Ncube [no parliamentary seat]                        Industry and Commerce

2.   Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga [no parliamentary seat]Regional Integration and International Co-operation

3.   David Coltart [Elected Senator Bulawayo]                      Education, Sport, Art and Culture

Gibson Sibanda [no parliamentary seat] was also listed for swearing-in but was actually not sworn -in.

formation of the coalition government is a development which was
greeted with mixed reactions of hope, pessimism, scepticism, and
optimism. Some civic society organisations accepted the Global
Political Agreement as an opportunity for both democratic and economic
development, whilst others as evidenced at the National Civil Society
Constitutional Conference rejected it mainly on the basis of what they
perceived a flawed constitutional making process outlined in the GPA
Article 6 arguing that the oversight role given to the parliament of
Zimbabwe is undemocratic and subject to political party control.  They
prefer instead to have a people driven constitution making process as
proposed by the NCA.

For a lot of Zimbabweans this agreement
embodies greater hope of economic recovery, an end to political
hostilities and the normalization of their livelihoods. However others
are anticipating that it will create the foundation for justice,
reconciliation and restoration of law and order in society.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed hope that
the establishment of the new Zimbabwe government would result in an
immediate effort to restore the rule of law, mark a refrain from a
culture of impunity and infringements on the judiciary, all eyes will
be on this new government to see if it can undo that damage, she

Save Zimbabwe Campaign New Zealand echoed the hope
placed on the new government noting in their press release that the
formation of the new government was the second step in the right
direction following the initial signing of the GPA.

Even the
international community is also watching in anticipation of a strong
and genuine commitment of the signatories to rebuilding the country.
The United States of America Acting State Department spokesperson
Robert Wood said soon after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai took oath
of office that we need to see evidence of good governance and
particularly real, true power sharing on the part of Robert Mugabe
before we are going to make any kind of commitment. The British
government almost echoed similar sentiments which largely bordered on
cautious approach to the power sharing pact hoping for early signs of
behavioural reformation on the part of political players especially
erstwhile leaders of the previous government. The international
community demands a strong political will and genuine commitment and 
set   the following conditions: the immediate release of political
prisoners, an end to political violence and intimidation, the repeal of
repressive legislation, more importantly the appointment of a credible
financial team and the production of a credible economic plan, and a
clear road to the national elections, with guarantees that they will be
conducted freely and fairly, in full view of the international

The continued arrest of human rights activists and
MDC members does not show good will by involved parties to the GPA. The
government of national unity will be judged by the success on the
results that it produces in fulfilling the mandate that the people of
Zimbabwe gave it. That mandate is "to improve the life, that is, to
reconstruct the economy and to stop political oppression. That mandate
is "to improve the lives of Zimbabweans and to reconstruct the economy
and to stop political oppression. It is important to note that
Zimbabwe`s economic recovery will be difficult without the assistance
of the international community.

However the much vaunted launch
of the fledgling Zimbabwe government has been tainted by the continued
perpetration of human rights abuses. The pattern of enforced
disappearances, unlawful arrests, torture and abductions of human
rights defenders like Jestina Mukoko and Broderick Takawira of the
Zimbabwe Peace Project as well as similar abuses on journalists,
opposition activists for which the government has acknowledged
responsibility, has cast a disturbing shadow over the sincerity of the
other party to the GPA on the implementation of the pact. The
continuing flouting of the pact culminated in the recent arrest of
nominee Deputy Agriculture Minister Roy Bennet. The fresh incidences of
violence reported on national television on 17 and 18 February 2009 in
Mutoko and Bindura amongst alleged members of ZANU PF and MDC raises
serious concerns. This development violates Article V11 of the Global
Political Agreement which seeks the promotion of equality, national
healing, cohesion and unity.  ZESN urges the parties to this agreement
to practice good faith towards the unity government, a development
which lays the needed ground for Zimbabwe`s prosperity.

Largely the GPA has been viewed as a window of hope for Zimbabweans which have to be given a chance.

Ministers` of State and Deputy Ministers

20 February 2009, twenty-five more people were called upon to be sworn
in as either deputy ministers or ministers of state. Twenty-four were
subsequently sworn in, with five of them assigned as Minister`s of
state, and 19 people were appointed Deputy Ministers in various
portfolio`s. One the Deputy Minister`s, a nominee of the MDC-T for the
deputy ministership of Agriculture Roy Bennet was not sworn in as he is
still under police custody. This has aroused profound interest and
amazement on how the number swelled from the originally scheduled 15
people, meant to become deputy ministers. This results in a cabinet of
41 ministers (if like before, ministers of state attend cabinet
sessions), working with 20 deputy ministers and 10 resident ministers
(governors) meaning the all inclusive government would be comprised of
a bloated executive arm of 71 Ministers. This is an unusually huge
executive branch, especially in view of the comatose economic situation
Zimbabwe is reeling under. It appears that the politics of patronage
and appeasement continues to pervade the fabric of Zimbabwe`s body
politic. The only logic behind such a huge executive is the need to
find positions in the new government for respective party officials.
Zimbabweans are left to hope that this power sharing government doesn`t
pre-occupy itself with the power acquisition at the expense of the
development of the ordinary citizen.

Ministers of State Sworn in;

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office —     Sekai Masikana Holland MP (MDC-T)

Minister of State in Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara's Office — Gibson Sibanda, Sen (MDC)

Minister of State in Vice President Msika's Office — Flora Bhuka MP (Zanu PF)

Minister of State in Vice President Mujuru's Office — Sylvester Robert Nguni MP (Zanu PF)

Minister of State in the President's Office — John Landa Nkomo (Zanu PF)

Deputy Ministers Sworn in;

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs — Moses Mzila Ndlovu MP (MDC)

Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce — Michael Chakanaka Bimha MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation — Reuben Marumahoko MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Public Works — Aguy Georgias, Sen (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Public Service — Andrew Langa MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development — Sesel Zvidzai MP (MDC-T)

Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development — Tichaona Mudzingwa MP (MDC-T)

Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development — Murisi Zwizwai MP (MDC-T)

Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity — Jameson Zvidzai Timba MP (MDC-T)

Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education — Lutho Addington Tapela MP (MDC)

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare — Douglas Tendai Mombeshora MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare — Tracy Mutinhiri MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture — Lazarus Dokora MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development — Samuel Undenge MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development — Hubert Nyanhongo MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals — Walter Kufakunesu Chidhakwa, MP (Zanu PF)

Deputy Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment — Thamsanqa Mahlangu MP (MDC-T)

Deputy Minister Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development — Evelyn Pfugamai Masaiti MP (MDC-T)

Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs — Jessie Fungai Majome MP (MDC-T)

Deputy Minister of Agriculture- Roy Bennett (MDC-T)-still to be sworn in

Parliament Budget: The Acting Minister of Finance Mr Chinamasa
presented the 2009 National Budget Statement in the House of Assembly
on Thursday 29th January his announcement that the use of multiple
foreign currencies will be permitted, alongside the Zimbabwe dollar. 
He accordingly presented the Budget Estimates in both local and
selected multiple foreign currencies. 

The total estimated
expenditure is US$1.9 billion.  One hopes that this will revive the
sectors that had collapsed like the education, health, infrastructure,
agriculture among others. This will also further impoverish the already
poor especially women, children, people living with HIV and AIDS and
people living with disabilities. With no access for foreign currency
earnings against expenditure in foreign currency, the stated groups
will have an insurmountable task to irk out a living. This has on the
other hand come as a relief to those who earn in foreign currency
because it has increased the availability of basic commodities and in
some cases the price has actually gone down. Organisations have also
benefitted in that planning has been made a lot easier and the
liberalisation and removal of conditions in terms of bank withdrawals
has also been positive for institutions and companies alike.

and food security: President Mugabe agreed to accept a high-level UN
team led by assistant secretary general on humanitarian affairs
Catherine Bragg, who would assess the crisis and find ways to deliver
aid. A cholera epidemic, which started in August, has infected 62 909
people and killed 3 229 others according to the World Health
Organisation. Seven million people – more than half the population  
need emergency food aid according to UN figures. The food situation in
the country remains critical in both rural and urban areas. The levels
of poverty have also reached serious levels with most families failing
to make ends meet. The RBZ sponsored BACCOSSI programme ended without
making any significant impact to ameliorate the country`s
poverty-stricken citizens. Most people benefitted therefore from the
World Food Programme and other humanitarian aid agencies.

Political Abductions, Torture and Arrests

most recent clampdown on civic society organizations and political
opponents of ZANU PF can be traced back to April 2008 after the victory
of the MDC T in the Harmonised elections of March with over a hundred
victims falling prey to alleged state assailants.

With the
sustained allegations that the MDC T was recruiting and training youths
in order to engage in terrorism against ZANU PF from Botswana in
October 2008, abductions of  key MDC officials and human rights
defenders  began.  Most of those abducted between October and December
2008 were later brought before the courts.  The refusal by the state,
through a certificate from the Minister of State Security, barring the
courts from investigating or revealing those responsible for the
abductions vindicates the argument that all abductions and
disappearances that have occurred throughout 2008 were state
sponsored.  Abductions have continued to date and the state continues
to act with impunity even though the feuding political parties have
come up with an inclusive government.  With the arrest of Roy Bennet,
the abductions and incarceration of ZPP staff members and alleged
abduction of other MDC activists, it remains to be seen if the state
under an assumed new leadership including MDC will change its ways.

is also of great challenge as the new government takes shape is the
nearly predictable appointment of ZANU PF's old guard, which has run
Zimbabwe since independence, to the cabinet. 

Developments: Court petitions-electoral contestations on the March 29
2008 were raised in nearly 105 constituencies with varying disputes and
complaints on both the electoral process and system. Most of these
petitions were resolved by the Electoral Court. The court challenge by
Justin Chihota in which he was contesting his disqualification at
nomination for the presidential election remains unresolved by the
Supreme Court. This continued dispute portends an interesting scenario
in the unlikely event that the case ends in the complainant`s favour.
Will the presidential result be nullified? Would it mean a re-run of
the presidential election? It is also interesting to note that this
court petition may have not been treated with deserving urgency because
at a point, as proclaimed by President Robert Mugabe at his party`s
congress in December, ZANU PF`s political game plan envisaged a fresh
round of elections in the then likely potential of a failure to the
mediation process. ZANU PF could have then manipulated the Supreme
Court to give a judgment that necessitates the nullification of the
presidential outcome. In December 2008 the ZEC Chairperson made
pronouncements to the effect that the election management body was
readying itself for by-elections.

By-elections: There remains
great uncertainty on the actual number of by-elections that must be
held because of the uncompleted formation of the envisaged
all-inclusive government. At present by-elections are expected in
Matobo North (House of Assembly) left vacant at the election of
Lovemore Moyo to be Speaker of Parliament, Chegutu (Senatorial),
Chiredzi (senatorial) after the election of Edna Madzongwe to be
President of the senate, Gokwe Gumunyu (house of assembly) after the
death of the incumbent MP, Bindura North following the death of Elliot
Manyika towards the end of 2008. In Chinanimani East MDC T lost a House
of Assembly seat after its member forged signatures on the nomination
papers. This was contrary to Section 46 (20) of the Electoral Act.

aura of uncertainty still hangs, on which of the ten governors
appointed last year from ZANU PF by the President of Zimbabwe would be
recalled by their party following the SADC resolution on the Global
Political Agreement that the appointment of governors be shared amongst
the parties to the all-inclusive government at an agreed criterion.

like Titus Maluleke from Masvingo province and Jaison Machaya of the
Midlands left their seats vacant following their appointment as
governors of Masvingo and Midlands respectively. However, in the event
that they are relieved of their governorship posts this might see them
reverting to their original positions of legislators. More by-elections
might arise in the event that MDC-T appoints sitting MP`s to the office
of governors. Constitutional Amendment 19 stipulates that in the case
of a vacancy arising in respect of the upper and lower houses of
parliament, such vacancy shall be filled by a nominee of the party
which held that position prior to the vacancy arising.

however does not suggest that the Zimbabwe Election Commission would
not declare a vacancy and call for nominees to the election. Only
parties to the GPA would not contest each other, but any other
interested party or candidate can contest the election.

exists, therefore, a growing likelihood that by-elections would go
ahead with contestants who might be from the revived ZAPU,
Mavambo/Kusile Project or independent candidates filing their names for
nomination as candidates. It also remains possible that any of the
parties to the Global Political Agreement might contest the election
incognito or by proxy through sponsoring an independent candidate.


is indeed important to note that the performance of the GNU continues
being monitored by various stakeholders and will be reviewed in six
months. It is also necessary to consider what happens in the event that
one party pulls out before the inception of a new constitution. Such an
occurrence might necessitate a fresh round of elections. Our hope is
that the pledge for a new constitution would come with far reaching
electoral reforms capturing the nascent principles on democratic
elections. It is ZESN`s submission that there is no hope for democratic
elections which can be conducted in Zimbabwe without meaningful
electoral reforms and a new people-oriented constitution. It is of
intrinsic importance that before any election is called for; there
should be a review of the operations of ZEC, media laws and to enable a
conducive electoral environment by repealing POSA, AIPPA and by
religiously upholding basic freedoms and best standards.  Measures
should also be taken to ensure electoral openness and transparency on
all electoral processes from the registration of voters to the timeous
announcement of results.

The formation of this composite
government comprising of people of diverse political background can be
taken as an opportunity for civic society to engage government in
influencing people-oriented

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