Ensure full implementation of unity govt pact

solidarity_peace_trustJOHANNESBURG The Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT) on Tuesday called on SADC and the African Union (AU) to ensure that Zimbabwes power-sharing agreement is fully implemented to guarantee human rights in the troubled southern African country.

The South African-based SPT which brings together churches in southern Africa and other organisations involved in campaigning for human rights, freedom and democracy in the region also called on Zimbabwean civic groups to discuss the impact of sanctions on the country.

“Strong steps must be taken by the guarantors of the GPA (global political agreement) SADC and the AU to ensure that the democratic and human rights reforms of the GPA are implemented with greater speed, SPT research director Brian Raftopolous said at a launch of two reports in Johannesburg.

The SPT reports are entitled: Walking a thin line: The political and humanitarian challenges facing Zimbabwes GPA leadership and its ordinary citizens; and Gone to Egoli: Economic survival strategies in Matabeleland.

The continued abrogation of the elements of the GPA by the ruling party must come under censure, Raftopolous said.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) brokered last Septembers power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwean political rivals President Robert Mugabe of ZANU PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that led to formation of a unity government in February.

The MDC has said it is unhappy with ZANU PFs refusal to finalise outstanding issues from the GPA, among them Mugabes unilateral reappointment of central bank governor Gideon Gono and appointment of Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

They set up an agreement that must be reviewed in six months; they have a responsibility on this matter. We have to take it back to them as a body that is responsible. We have to refer the mater back to them . . . to who else should we refer this issue? Raftopolous said.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who returned on Monday from a three-week tour of the United States and European capitals appealing for support for the unity government said early this month that his MDC party is expecting regional leaders to meet to discuss problems bedeviling the power-sharing government.

However the SPT director said that sanctions imposed by Western countries against Mugabe and his ZANU PF party inner circle must be scrapped for the coalition government in Zimbabwe to work.

Raftopolous urged Zimbabwean civic groups to come together and debate the impact of sanctions on the country.

Civic society does not have a clear position when it comes to sanctions . . . We havent had a proper debate on sanctions as civic organisations in Zimbabwe. I am saying lets debate it . . . its a public policy issue lets debate it, he said.

We need to talk about the role sanctions are playing in the country, will sustained sanctions help to deal with outstanding issues. I cant see any strategic link between these sanctions and outstanding issues.

The US and its European Union allies have promised more humanitarian support for Zimbabwe but continue to hold back on direct financial support, saying Harare must implement more reforms and uphold human rights.

SPT said the international donor community must complement its humanitarian efforts in Zimbabwe by direct financial assistance to the unity government, adding that conditions for support needed to be aligned to the milestones set by Harare deriving from the GPA.

The current humanitarian interventions must be complemented by key developmental support in order to assist in developing the material basis for a national reconciliation process in Zimbabwe, said SPT chairman Bishop Rubin Phillip, adding: Conditions for international support must be based on the benchmarks set by the transitional government itself, which must in turn be based on the central democratic demands of the GPA.

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