Magazine article New African

Does Power-Sharing Have a Future? Will Zimbabwe's Inclusive Government Ever Work? That Is the Question on Everyone's Mind. the Events of the Past Few Months since the Three Main Political Parties Signed a Power-Sharing Agreement Have Heightened Fears That the Inclusive Government Will Suffer a Stillbirth, or at Least Something Close to It. Mabasa Sasa Reports from Harare

Magazine article New African

Does Power-Sharing Have a Future? Will Zimbabwe's Inclusive Government Ever Work? That Is the Question on Everyone's Mind. the Events of the Past Few Months since the Three Main Political Parties Signed a Power-Sharing Agreement Have Heightened Fears That the Inclusive Government Will Suffer a Stillbirth, or at Least Something Close to It. Mabasa Sasa Reports from Harare

Article excerpt

On 9 November, about six weeks after the signing of the power-sharing agreement between the country's three main parties, and nine long months after the 29 March general elections, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) met in South Africa and decreed that Zimbabwe's "inclusive government be formed forth-with", the Ministry of Home Affairs be co-managed between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T party, and that "the parties must, without any further delay, introduce the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No.19 that should provide the legal framework for power-sharing and the government to flow from it.

However, Tsvangirai, whose MDC-T has 100 seats in parliament to Zanu PF's 99, and who asked for the SADC summit, has rejected the SADC decision, claiming "it does not deal with the [issues of] equitability and fairness in the allocation and distribution of all ministerial portfolios".

According to Tsvangirai: "It is the MDC's position that any coalition of cooperative government has to be based on genuine power-sharing of portfolio allocations. In this regard, we had proposed a formula which seeks to pair various ministries on the basis of relative parity. Thus, in our view, to the extent that Zanu PF had allocated itself the portfolios of Defence and State Security, it only made sense that the Ministry of Home Affairs should go to the MDC.

"Furthermore, in a political environment such as ours, poisoned by lack of a paradigm shift by Zanu PF, lack of sincerity and utter contempt towards the MDC and the wishes of the people, quite clearly the concept of co-ministering cannot work.

In any event, what is the rationale of proposing a co-ministry only in relation to the Home Affairs portfolio in total oblivion to Defence and State Security which Zanu PF already holds," Tsvangirai asked.

He said that although MDC-T was still committed to the power-sharing agreement, "We cannot accept any arrangement that does not allow the MDC to effectively contribute to ending [the] suffering [of the people]."

According to the agreement, Zanu PF (with 30 senate seats to MDC-T's 26) should control 15 ministries to MDC-T's 13, and Arthur Mutambara's MDC-M 3.

The bone of contention over the six weeks since the signing of the deal has been who controls the influential Ministry of Home Affairs. Both Zanu PF and MDC-T want oversight of the ministry, and after a number of proposals on how to go about the matter failed, the issue was referred to Swaziland's King Mswati III, who chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

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Essentially, it was Tsvangirai who demanded that the issue be taken to the king after the SADC dialogue facilitator, President Thabo Mbeki, had failed to breach the deadlock. So it came as a huge surprise that Tsvangirai refused to turn up. His reason: the Zimbabwe government had not given him a passport and leave to travel to Swaziland via South Africa. Tsvangirai's original passport has expired.

But had been given an emergency travel document (ETD) that allowed him to travel to Swaziland and South Africa. As for the visa to enter South Africa, that is the prerogative of Pretoria through its embassy in Harare. The opposition then claimed that it was a show of bad faith to give Tsvangirai an ETD because his status demanded a proper passport.

In response, President Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, told New African that "the government does not have the paper to print full passports because of the economic sanctions imposed on the country by America, Britain and its EU and white Commonwealth allies that were called for by the opposition. Many people in Zimbabwe are using ETDs because of the sanctions. You will remember that recently Germany even pressured one of its companies not to supply this country with paper to print our money.

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"This is all about sanctions," Charamba insisted. …

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