13 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Unity Government Failures Hampering Zim Recovery

The failures of the four year old unity government, to honour and implement key issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA), are hampering Zimbabwe's recovery.

This is according to a group of civil society organisations that have been monitoring the government's implementation of the GPA, since the coalition was formed in February 2009. The Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CISOMM) on Wednesday marked the four year anniversary of the government by stating the milestone "is marred only by the failure to fulfil the commitments laden in the letter and spirit of the GPA."

"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," the CISOMM report said.

The group said that key provisions in the GPA, like those to do with the rule of law, the National Healing Programme, a land audit and others "remain dormant; unimplemented and forgotten." The group said it is "hardly surprising" that the failure to implement the GPA has been coupled with wider problems. This includes "the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as typhoid and dysentery, the deterioration of maternal care in hospitals, shortage of anti-retroviral drugs, general lack of improvement in service delivery, lawlessness and continued impunity evidenced by the perpetuity of human rights violations."

"These ills, whilst tragic, are manageable and should never be beyond a measure of control. They are symptomatic of a broader failure of political will to implement the provisions of the GPA," the report said.

CISOMM spokesperson Dzimbabwe Chimbga told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that the unity government "has not delivered," adding that it is highly unlikely the reforms promised in the GPA "will ever happen."

"Realistically we don't expect there will be the full implementation of the GPA provisions before elections (expected this year). It took four years to reach this point and I don't think realistically in a few months all these provisions will be implemented," Chimbga said.

CISOMM meanwhile lauded the few "positive developments" that have been seen under the GPA, including economic stability and "relative peace that was brought by the inclusive government." They also said a positive step was that "two more radio stations were licensed and more media houses were licensed, signalling progress, albeit limited, in getting more players on the airwaves." This is despite the radio stations that received licences being strongly linked to the ZANU PF aligned state media.

"As CISOMM organisations however, 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 resources to efficiently carry out its operations. Where no substantive reforms have been made to our Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and other institutions whose functions are to ensure a peaceful, credible, free and fair election whose outcome is respected, it is not possible to have full confidence as a referendum and national polls approach," CISOMM said.

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