CISOMM Statement on the 4th Anniversary Of The Signing Of The GPA

15 SEPTEMBER 2012 marks the 4th Anniversary of the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) by the three political parties to the Inclusive Government (IG).

Such an auspicious moment is marred only by the tragic failure to fulfil the commitments laden in the letter and spirit of the GPA. The basis of the agreement was steeped in a ‘shared commitment’ to ‘re-orient our attitudes towards respect for the Constitution, national laws, the rule of law’ as well as to ‘build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hatred, patronage, corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness, transparency, dignity and equality.’

Whilst the agreement was far from perfect, being dogged by a secretive and exclusive negotiation process, it nevertheless contained useful provisions meant to address the critical areas of governance vital for the attainment of an open and democratic society. These included a land audit, establishment of a National Economic Council, a National Healing Programme, a human rights, humanitarian law and statute law training programme for uniformed forces, a Legislative Reform Agenda, a Constitutional Reform Agenda and a Peer Review Mechanism.

Civil Society organisations swiftly organised themselves under the banner of the Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CISOMM) as a buoy to monitor the implementation of the GPA and contribute to the broader democratisation initiatives of the IG.

No sooner had the IG been formed that more ministers were appointed than was agreed in the GPA. There was ruthless efficiency in occupying public office and securing the benefits that come with those offices; which was not coupled with similar energies in implementing the qualitative requirements in the GPA.

Whilst the constitution-making process and formation of Commissions has dominated discourse on the progress of the IG, key provisions like those relating to the Periodic Review Mechanism, the Rule of Law, National Healing Programme and the training of security forces remain dormant; unimplemented and forgotten.

It is hardly surprising therefore, that this failure to fully implement the GPA has been contemporaneous with the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as typhoid and dysentery, the deterioration of maternal care in hospitals, shortage of anti-retroviral drugs, lawlessness and impunity evidenced by increased incidents of violence and general lack of improvement in service delivery. These ills, whilst tragic, are manageable and should never be beyond a measure of control. They are symptomatic of a broader failure to implement the provisions of the GPA.

As CISOMM organisations, we state that it cannot be sufficient to celebrate the licensing of two radio stations when there is still only one electronic broadcaster which has an inherent bias towards one political party. It cannot be enough to laud the creation of a Human Rights Commission that still awaits a legal mandate to commence its operations. It is remiss to celebrate any statistical data relating to economic growth which does not translate to clean, accessible and affordable water, electricity, health care, education and all other manner of entitlements that are necessary for the unfettered pursuit of happiness. In the premise, we would call upon the Inclusive Government to:

• Expedite the implementation of the GPA and fully commit to its letter and spirit;

• Come up with short-term strategies to curtail further outbreaks of medieval diseases such as cholera, typhoid and other easily preventable water-borne diseases;

• Come up with short term strategies to deal with maternal health-care and;

• Implement the commitment to rule of law and security of the person by having perpetrators of violence prosecuted;

• Come up with a sustainable strategy that includes a clear plan for provision of clean water and sanitation to all communities;

• Recommit to the Article VI process of constitutional reform and follow its guidelines for the next stage of the process, that is, the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference and adopt a roadmap to holding free, fair and undisputable elections.

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