Mugabe, Tsvangirai crisis talks


morgan_motlanthe_mugabe.jpg From Left: PM Tsavngirai, SA President Motlanthe and President Mugabe

– All is not well in unity government.

HARARE – Principals to Zimbabwe's fragile inclusive government will convene a crisis meeting tomorrow to deal with outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA) they signed last September amid fears that the country could slide back to anarchy if they fail to patch up their differences.

President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara's meeting would be the second within four days to try to find a lasting solution to the outstanding issues and other differences that emerged after the formation of the inclusive government on February 13.

Among the outstanding issues of the GPA are the appointment of provincial governors, permanent secretaries and diplomats, the rehiring of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and the appointment of Johannes Tomana as Attorney General by Mugabe in January.

Tsvangirai and Mutambara wants the appointments of Gono, Tomana and provincial governors rescinded and the recruitment of new ambassadors and permanent secretaries – moves Mugabe and hardliners from his Zanu (PF) party were adamantly opposing.

Mugabe last week also raised the ire of his coalition partners with a unilateral decision to transfer a major portfolio from MDC-Tsvangirai minister Nelson Chamisa to one of his Zanu (PF) hardliners Nicholas Goche.

Another bone of contention between Mugabe on the one hand and Tsvangirai and Mutambara on the other is the refusal by the 85-year-old President to swear in MDC-Tsvangirai Senator Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister.


On Thursday, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara met four five hours in the capital to deal with the outstanding issues and the differences without success.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson James Maridadi confirmed the Monday meeting.

The principals met on Thursday and considered the outstanding issues and other challengers facing the inclusive government, Maridadi said. Comprehensive deliberations will be held on Monday with the hope that the outstanding issues and the differences will be resolved.

Sources said during the Thursday meeting, Mugabe was adamant that he would not swear in Bennett arguing that there was overwhelming evidence that he plotted to kill him.

Bennett is currently on bail on allegations of banditry and firearm related allegations.

The sources said Mugabe told Tsvangirai and Mutambara that they were free to appeal to regional SADC bloc, which facilitated the GPA, against his decision not to swear in the MDC-Tsvangirai treasurer-general.

Mugabe with the support of Vice-president Joseph Msika, who also attended the meeting, the sources said, was adamant that there was no need to reappoint provincial governors, permanent secretaries and diplomats.


On Gono and Tomana's appointments, Mugabe's position to Tsvangirai and Mutambara's demands were that they cannot be removed, one of the sources said. Mugabe argued that the two were appointed in terms of the law and way back before the inclusive government was formed.

The sources said Chamisa's issues would be deliberated on at length on Monday.

Mugabe took Chamisa's portfolio assignments, among them, the oversight of state communication including state-owned fixed line Phone Company and mobile phone providers, and gave them to Goche – minister of transport.

Analysts said the disagreements that came at a time when the parties were still haggling over issues that were still outstanding from the September 15 power sharing agreement showed the coalition was living on borrowed time.

Senior MDC-Tsvangirai figures believe the Chamisa incident showed Mugabe was not comfortable ceding control of some sensitive portfolios to his coalition partners such as telecommunications.

"This whole thing is motivated by hatred, malice and the crime is that I am MDC, that I am young and that I am trying to make positive contribution," said Chamisa – the Minister of Information Communication Technology, when the communication portfolio was taken from him.

The unity government's performance since its formation in February has been heavily affected by the failure by the international community to raise more than US$8 billion needed for reconstruction purposes and land invasions blamed on Mugabe’s supporters.


Resurgent political violence in some parts of the country has also intensified doubts on the unity government's durability.

Professor Jonathan Moyo, the only independent Member of Parliament warned the coalition government’s failure to mobilise enough resources to rehabilitate the economy might prove to be its downfall.

"There is just no money in the country right now be it in business coffers or the pockets of ordinary people and this is a very serious matter which is being ignored by the self indulgent coalition government whose Prime Minister is now groping in the dark in a desperate search for non exist benchmarks of success," Prof Moyo said.

Donors have restricted their support to humanitarian initiatives and civil servants who returned to work after the government promised them salaries in foreign currency are now threatening to down tools next month.

Last year, the entire civil service was on strike pressing for better salaries and living conditions, which the bankrupt government could not afford. The national hope and goodwill engendered by the formation of the new government are fast waning.

We will win constitutional vote: govt


HARARE – Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga has said a proposed new constitution to be drafted by the unity government will not be rejected as happened nine years ago when Zimbabweans voted against a draft constitution sponsored by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Matinenga said there would not be a repeat of the 2000 fiasco when the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) mobilised people into voting against a draft constitution that had been proposed by the government-appointed Chidyausiku Commission.

I am hoping the same will not be repeated, in fact this process will not repeat the 2000 process, said Matinenga.

The process was totally different from the process today. The 2000 process was as a result of a commission set up by the Zanu (PF) government. It was heavily weighted in favour of the government. The political matrix today is totally different.

Matinenga spoke just as the NCA – that brings together civic rights groups, women's organisations, churches, opposition political parties, the labour and student movements – was launching a campaign against plans by Parliament to lead the writing of the new constitution.

NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku told journalists at the launch of the No Vote campaign in Harare that his organisation was against a Parliament-driven constitution-making process and was already mobilising Zimbabweans to reject the unity government's draft document in referendum scheduled for next year.

If the politicians insist on imposing a new constitution driven entirely by themselves to suit their interests, then we are bracing for a serious fight. Politicians must never decide for the people, said Madhuku.

The NCA is ready for a second rejection of a default constitution. Mugabe has had his NO vote.

Matinenga dismissed suggestions that politicians were driving the constitution-making process.

There is no truth in the suggestion that this process is government or political party driven. Parliament makes up the representation of the people. Who has the monopoly to say I represent the people but the same people who have been elected by the very same people do not represent the people, its a fallacy, said Matinenga.

Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo last week announced a 25-member committee of legislators drawn from Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the two formations of the MDC to oversee the drafting of the country’s new constitution.

Moyo, from the Tsvangirai-led MDC formation, said the committee would drive the writing of the new constitution over the next 18 months as outlined under a power-sharing agreement signed by Zimbabwe's three main political parties last year and which led to the formation of the unity government last February.

Moyo said apart from lawmakers, more people drawn from business, students, rights groups, churches, media, women's groups, labour and farmers among others shall be tasked to assist the parliamentary select committee that will however have final say in the drafting of the new constitution.

The Speaker said the draft constitution would be put before the electorate in a referendum expected in July next year and if approved by Zimbabweans will then be brought before Parliament for enactment.

Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is expected to then call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government elections.

Zimbabwe is currently governed under the 1979 constitution agreed at the Lancaster House talks in London. The constitution has been amended 19 times since the country's independence in 1980.

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