Countdown to SADC deadline: The Issues
The following is a list of issues raised at the SADC Troika meeting in Mozambique this year in November and what the political parties have done or not done. SADC set a deadline of 6 December 2009 for the issues to be resolved.
Engagement of political parties signatory to the GPA within 15 days and no later than 30 days.
The political parties failed to engage within the first 15 days as some stated that they were attending to state business and could not attend the talks. However, negotiations have begun albeit no outputs have been recorded.
Swearing in of Deputy Agriculture Minister designate, Roy Bennett (Resolution 7 (iii) of 26-27 January SADC summit).
President Mugabe was quoted saying Roy Bennett would only be sworn in once the courts have cleared him of criminal charges he faces (The Herald 26 November 2009), Bennett is currently on trial for alleged sabotage and terrorism at the High court of Zimbabwe.
Three witnesses have so far been called to the stand; James Makone, Michael Nyakatawa, a member of the Central Intelligence Organization in the office of the President and Superintendent Arnold Zorodzai Dhliwayo who were involved in Peter Hitschmann’s case .
Selective application of the law (Article 18 of the GPA).
Selective application of the law persists with 6 MDC activists convicted on Friday 20 November 2009, on allegations that they assaulted a Zanu PF official Wellington Chitehwe in February 2009. ZANU PF supporters who were behind the post 29 March 2008 political violence remain free.
In addition, the MDC Transport Manager, Pascal Gwezere who was abducted on the 27th of October 2009 before his subsequent court appearance, remains in custody following the invocation of Section 121 of the Criminal and Evidence Act after the courts granted him bail.
Gwezere is facing charges of stealing weapons from Pomona Barracks in Harare for purposes of terrorism and insurgence, regardless of the fact that Zimbabwe Republic police announced to the nation that one civilian and two members of the Zimbabwe National Army (and Gwezere is not one of them)were found guilty of stealing the firearms.
Political intolerance and violence against MDC supporters and human rights defenders.
15 students representing the Zimbabwe National Student’s Union (ZINASU) were arrested at Great Zimbabwe University on Wednesday 18 November 2009 for alleged possession of a fire arm and holding an illegal political gathering at the campus.
Four of the students arrested were released on Sunday 22 November while the remaining 11 students appeared at Masvingo Magistrate Court on the 23rd of November where they were acquitted. One of the students, Godfrey Kurauone sustained serious injuries after receiving beatings while in police custody.
Civil society organizations have also been banned by some ZANU PF elements from holding meetings in parts of the country particularly Mashonaland Central.
Organizations including Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust (ADZT), Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Center for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) and Zimrights have reported increased intolerance during their outreach programs.
Restrictive measures against ZANU PF officials and surrogates responsible for human rights violations.
Restrictive measures against ZANU PF officials and their surrogates responsible from human rights abuses remain owing to the continued existence of repressive laws and the shrinkage of democratic space.
It is the duty of the government to ensure that the rule of law is observed and human rights abuses curbed for the re-engagement of the international community to take place.
Appointment of senior government officials such as Provincial Governors, Independent Commissioners and Ambassadors.
Despite selection and training of Ambassadors, the quota agreed to by political parties during negotiations was not upheld.
The issue of governors remains unresolved with no progress recorded more than one year after the signing of the GPA. In addition, although interviews were done of potential commissioners in the Human Rights Commission and Media Commission, the President is yet to make appointments.
Some government employees who are working as aides and assistants in the MDC run Ministries are yet to be included in the Public Service Commission. The Commission’s Chairman, Dr. Mariyawanda Nzuwa noted in The Herald of Friday 27 November 2009 that these appointees face ban from entering government buildings and viewing government documents.
Appointment of Attorney General and RBZ Governor, Resolution No 7 (VI) of the January communiqué.
The Attorney General, Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono who were unilaterally appointed by President Mugabe remain in office. President Mugabe has, on many occasions stated that the two have already been appointed and dismissals were not an option.
Pirate radio stations.
External radio stations remain in place largely owing to absence of a vibrant and free media industry. The government is yet to open up the airwaves and to allow privately owned newspapers such as The Newsday to begin operations. Banned newspapers such as The Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday and The Tribune remain closed.
Newspapers under the Zimpapers stable are still operating without any hindrances despite them being unregistered as is the requirement for private newspapers.
Appointment of the National Economic Council.
The National Economic Council, which will be responsible for setting economic policies for the country is yet to be appointed with no steps taken thus far.
SADC deadline is 6 December 2009.
Produced by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition