Parties should walk the talk

The on-going meetings by the principals in the Government of National Unity must be commended. They seem to have made significant progress in relation to some of the outstanding issues that still vex the successful implementation of the global political agreement.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

But all of that is still just so much talk, and we are still to see the walk if the GNU is to survive or reach its logical conclusion. Yes, it is good for our leaders to talk, but it would be even better for them to implement what they agree on. That is what the people of this country want; it is what they deserve. Some of the matters that have so far been agreed have the potential of making a huge difference to the way of politics in this country.

The three leaders agreed to abandon the proposed polling station-based voter register and revert to the ward-based system. This is critical for the safety and security of the voters.

History has taught us that there tends to be considerable intimidation of the ordinary voter once they are known or even suspected to support certain political parties.

A polling station-based voter register would make it a lot easier for the perpetrators of political violence to identify and therefore intimidate or victimise suspected supporters of rival parties. This would not be so easy if polling is ward-based, as voters would be able to pick and choose from a number of polling stations in their ward.

The leaders also agreed to closely supervise government ministers and make them accountable for their actions or lack thereof. Ministers will now be required to report on their ministries’ performance to the Prime Minister as head of government. He in turn will report to the President, who may give specific directions to the PM or to the minister concerned.

Hitherto, Zanu (PF) ministers have only been reporting to the President on the performance of their ministries while MDC ministers have been reporting to the PM. We all hope that the situation will now become more effectively operational to the benefit of this determined nation. We do not deserve any less from our government officials.

The two MDC formations are likely to reap the benefits of the principals’ agreement that government ministers who get arrested be treated humanely while in custody.

We all know that the Zimbabwe Republic Police have a penchant for arresting MDC ministers and supporters. Although it is commendable that Mugabe agreed to ensure that the police treat arrested ministers humanely, what would be ideal would be that the ZRP should treat all arrested people in accordance with the laws of the land.

People being arrested should not be treated as if they have already been convicted in a court of law, whether they are government ministers or just ordinary citizens. We wait to see whether the police will, from now on, behave in a professional manner and in accordance with their own so-called charter. Will Chihuri and his lieutenants be able to change their behaviour from what they have always done in the treatment of arrested people?

The leaders also agreed on an anti-political violence campaign, which is to be cascaded to the provinces and, hopefully to the districts as well. The modalities of the campaign still need to be worked out. Surely it cannot be spearheaded by provincial governors since they are all from only one political party, Zanu (PF).

This campaign will need to be spearheaded by representatives of all the political parties in the inclusive government. As they say, the devil is in the detail. How the anti-political violence campaign is conducted will determine its success or failure. The leaders must keep on talking as well as walking their talk for the benefit of this great nation. God bless Zimbabwe!

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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