Zim parties tied to Sadc: Minister

The parties in the Government of National Unity are tied to Sadc and cannot do as they please, a senior politician has said. Threats to declare a deadlock and pull out of the GNU guaranteed by the regional body were empty, said Regional Cooperation Minister, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga last week.

Regional Cooperation Minister, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga  and Zanu (PF)’s Patrick Chinamasa.
Regional Cooperation Minister, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Zanu (PF)’s Patrick Chinamasa.

By agreeing to the Global Political Agreement of 2008 the parties had subordinated themselves to Sadc, she said.

The Minister, who belongs to the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, was speaking at the Sapes Trust debate series in Harare. Zanu (PF)’s Patrick Chinamasa and MDC-T’s Tendai Biti also spoke.

South Africa presided over the signing of the GPA that bound Zanu (PF), MDC-T and MDC-N to a political roadmap that would transform Zimbabwe into a democracy following years of increasingly authoritarian rule by President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

The GPA, signed in September 2008, came immediately after an internationally condemned presidential run-off in June of the same year that was marked by widespread violence and from which Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew, leaving Mugabe as the sole candidate whose legitimacy was questioned by many.

An international outcry after bloody elections forced Mugabe into a coalition with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in which they are supposed to be sharing executive powers.

Zanu (PF) hardliners have been threatening to pull out of the GNU and decree an election, arguing that the coalition government is dysfunctional.

Succumbing to the dictates of Sadc was not tantamount to surrendering national sovereignty, Misihairambwi added. “This has nothing to do with sovereignty or interference. We all realise what will happen to us if the regional grouping leaves us to the dogs,” she said.

“Ask those in the Arab world. They will tell you (what happens when the people are angry) and I can assure you no one in Zimbabwe’s body politic is willing to go through that. Never take what the politicians say seriously because it is only the ego speaking, and the usual male bravado, which to me is much ado about nothing really,” the minister said.

Chinamasa admitted that Sadc was crucial but, maintained that Zimbabweans could still decide when to hold elections.

“The people of this country still retain the right to decide when to hold elections, albeit with the assistance of the facilitator (Jacob Zuma). The GPA is a product of Zimbabwe and I believe that we can still find each other to map a way forward for the country,” Chinamasa said.

MDC-T Secretary General and current Finance Minister, Tendai Biti discouraged bully tendencies among politicians, apparently referring to Zanu (PF).

“We need to stop this bull in the living room mentality and start to behave responsibly. You cannot make a rugby tackle in a cricket match. They will not allow it and if this country is to move forward, we need to change our behaviour and start acting like people and not animals.

“Nobody wants to sell Zimbabwe. You cannot sell it because how do you do that and who would buy it anyway?” said Biti to applause.

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