16 November 2012

Zimbabwe: The End of the GNU?


A top civil servant has reportedly written to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to say his office will cease to exist after February 28th next year, according to a highly placed source.

The source said the letter indicates that President Robert Mugabe will 'unilaterally end the inclusive government and dissolve parliament in January before calling for elections in March without the new constitution he signed up to.'

The letter, believed to have originated from the Public Services Commission, is said to have been delivered to the Premier's office earlier this week although neither he nor his partner in the inclusive government, Welshman Ncube, have publicly responded.

Our source had tried to confirm the existence of the letter (presumably from the chairman of the PSC, Mariyawanda Nzuwa) by asking Tsvangirai's top aide Ian Makone about it. But he said it was news to him.

Welshman Ncube said: 'I know nothing about this.'

Mugabe has repeatedly insisted elections must be held in March 2013. However Pedzisayi Ruhanya, a director for the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that he finds it hard to believe such a letter exists because the dissolution of government is not done by a letter but by a statutory instrument gazetted in the government gazette.

'Not even a minister can issue such a directive. What happens is that if government is going to be dissolved, the President will issue a statutory instrument through the Ministry of Justice that is published in a government gazette. That is the law and procedure. The first thing that is done when rolling out an electoral process is the dissolution of parliament and that also is done through a statutory instrument via the Justice ministry,' Ruhanya said.

Mugabe could in fact use his presidential powers to dissolve parliament, if he wanted to. Although, in theory, the Global Political Agreement requires him to consult with his unity government partners over all issues, we all know that this doesn't necessarily happen.

Analysts have said that should Mugabe make a unilateral decision to call elections it wouldn't go down well with SADC or South African President Jacob Zuma, who is the mediator on the Zimbabwe crisis.

But Zimbabweans should not put their hopes in Zuma. He is currently fighting for his political life ahead of the ANC's congress next month. Observers in South Africa say Zuma is showing that he has no interest in Zimbabwe at the moment.

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