IF regional leaders meeting this week in Kinshasa for their annual Sadc Summit want to be taken seriously about their respected role as the lead-guarantors of the GPA upon which the fragile coalition government is based, they must use the summit to confront the following three critical factors that, together with the continuation of illegal economic sanctions, are threatening the survival of the GPA.
1. Contrary to its GPA obligations and in violation of the universally enshrined governance principle of collective responsibility, the MDC-T is illegally running a parallel government in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office in which civil servants who, like their peers in other Government offices, are remunerated a paltry monthly allowance that is no more than US$170.00 are also paid salaries from foreign governments, some of which are as high as US$7 000.00 a month.
The parallel government based in the Prime Minister’s Office is reminiscent of the dual structure of government that Ian Smith’s racist and illegal Rhodesian government used to run to separately cater for whites and blacks where the former received higher salaries than the latter.
2. Over the last six months, Minister Tendai Biti has sought to abuse Treasury in particular and fiscal policy in general by employing a budget-starvation strategy to weaken and even destroy key State institutions by grossly under-funding them while demonising them in the name of reform within the donor community. The affected institutions have included the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the President’s Department (otherwise known as the Central Intelligence Organisation), the Zimbabwe Prison Service and a range of parastatals, including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has been particularly targeted by Minister Biti as most recently demonstrated by the minister’s infantile reaction to the release of US$512 million by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the Bank.
3. Since the signing of the GPA, the MDC-T has pursued the negative politics of patronage by putting positions above policies in a shameless quest to secure jobs for the Prime Minister’s inner circle elements of which are already being paid huge top-up salaries by foreign governments that are known to be hostile to Zimbabwe as a nation.
It is instructive to take each of the above four factors further. A great deal has already been said over the last six months about the weakness, irrelevances and even fallacies of the MDC-T’s emphasis on patronage positions as very important outstanding GPA issues when the contrary is true. Many in and outside Zimbabwe have gotten tired about the MDC-T’s noise over Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana as alleged outstanding GPA issues.
The fact that Prime Minister Tsvangirai pumped up the volume last week on these two issues in the hope of influencing this week’s Sadc Summit on the matter shows that, apart from apparently being wilfully ignorant of the GPA provisions on political grounds, the Prime Minister still suffers from the mistaken notion that the Sadc Summit can or should function as a human resources department for member states.
4. Sadc leaders should understand that the proposition that President Robert Mugabe should appoint six provincial governors from the MDC formations is inherently absurd insofar as it fails to appreciate that provincial governors are, in fact, an integral and therefore indivisible part of the President in his capacity as Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. Provincial governors do in the provinces what the President does nationally, including officiating at national events. This matter is so straightforward that there is no need to belabour it.
Indeed, regional leaders meeting in Kinshasa must be particularly aware that the GPA is silent about provincial governors as are all Sadc communiqués on the Zimbabwean situation before and after the signing of the GPA.
As for the swearing in of Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister, the less said about it the better. His role in the Rhodesian army during the liberation struggle and the atrocities he allegedly committed are not things to be taken lightly.
As for the Governor of the Central Bank or the Attorney-General, their appointments are made by the President in his capacity as Head of State and head of Government in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the land. This cannot be news to the Sadc leaders because the situation is the same in the countries they lead.
Apart from the fact that Gono and Tomana are not mentioned in the GPA, the more relevant and more important fact is that the legal processes of appointing both of them were actually done and completed well before September 15 2008 when Zanu PF and the two MDC formations signed the GPA. As such, how can the GPA determine the fate of constitutional and legal appointments that predate it?
In any event, everybody knows from the public record that the only reference to the appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney-General is under paragraph 7(vi) of the Communique of Sadc’s Extraordinary Summit held between January 26 and 27, 2009 which simply said “the appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney-General will be dealt with by the inclusive Government after its formation”.
There are three points about that communique which should be highlighted to put paid to the matter. First, it was a Press statement and not a legally binding document. Second, it clearly stated that the matter of the appointments of the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Attorney-General would be addressed by the coalition government and not by Sadc, not by the three political parties that signed the GPA and not by anyone else. This means that only daydreamers will expect this week’s Sadc Summit to deal with those appointments.
Third, the coalition government has since its formation dealt with the appointments in question by advising Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the new Cabinet of how the appointments were done in terms of the Constitution and the laws of the land well before the signing of the GPA. There is no other way the matter can be dealt with. The fact that the MDC-T or any other political party that signed the GPA may not be satisfied with the Government’s position as taken and explained by President Robert Mugabe in his capacity as Head of State and Head of Government is irrelevant and cannot be a Sadc issue.
It should, therefore, be now obvious even to incorrigible partisans that the issue of the legality of the appointments of Gono and Tomana, which were actually finalised before the GPA was even signed, will be dead and buried after the Kinshasa 2009 Sadc Summit and will thereafter be raised by dilettantes.
But of course, as long as he remains Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gono will also remain a target of Finance Minister Biti’s personal attacks designed to weaken the Reserve Bank as a national institution, which the MDC-T is bent on destroying by hook or crook. After spending the last six months promising everyone who could hear that he would remove Gono from the office of Governor and that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would not receive a cent from any Western donor or multilateral organisation as long as he remained in charge of Treasury, Minister Biti got a shock of his troubled life and raved and ranted mad when the IMF released US$512 million in unconditional funds to Zimbabwe through the Reserve Bank, which is still under Gono’s watch.
That single IMF action-which was in fact part of a global action that variously and unconditionally benefited all IMF members including the likes of Myanmar, Iran, Sudan and Somalia-exposed Minister Biti’s personalised lie that no donor would put a cent to the Reserve Bank for any reason and under any circumstance as long as Gono was Governor. The IMF has not just put a cent but has actually put a whooping US$512 million to inject much needed liquidity in the economy as part of a global effort to energise the ailing economies of all members of the Fund by helping them deal with the effects of the global economic meltdown.
Last Friday some confused and rather incompetent United States diplomats and foreign media correspondents in Harare sought to give false comfort to Minister Biti by either falsely claiming that the IMF had not included Zimbabwe in the general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) disbursed to members or childishly misleading gullible journalists that SDRs are not real money and that while Zimbabwe had been given SDRs the Reserve Bank would not be able to redeem them into Obama dollars without the approval of Minister Biti who had allegedly secured support from American and British diplomats to block any effort to turn the SDRs into real money.
This week’s Sadc Summit in Kinshasa should be fully advised of what the MDC-T has done on this matter through Minister Biti’s reckless bid to deny Zimbabwe its due allocation as a member of the IMF when other countries that are members of the Fund, including some with arrears and other issues, were receiving their allocation without any condition whatsoever.
Sadc should understand that the GPA and the coalition government will not succeed with a Minister of Finance who has no qualms about abusing his position to connive with foreign diplomats to harm the country’s Reserve Bank, economy and national security. Resolving this issue is more important than the MDC-T’s patronage quest for personal positions in the coalition government.
The bottom line that is now very clear is that Zimbabwe does not have a suitable and mature Minister of Finance with the necessary integrity and presence of mind to deal with the challenges at stake. If Sadc leaders do not understand this because of the false MDC-T noise about alleged outstanding GPA issues, they will never understand anything about today’s problems in Zimbabwe.
Governor Gono and his Reserve Bank team do not need Minister Biti’s continued personal vilification. Instead, they deserve to be commended for having acted outside the box to keep Zimbabwe’s membership in the IMF when the country faced compulsory expulsion in 2006. Had the country been expelled then, something which the MDC T vigorously campaigned for, the US$512 million allocated last week would have been out of the question.
Those NGOs, universities and private companies that had their Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) raided or whose funds were in any way used to bailout Zimbabwe at its dire moment of need now have a reasonable and legitimate expectation to be reimbursed what is legally due to them. The same goes for ordinary people whose Zimbabwe dollar accounts have been erased by the multi-currency dispensation.
Because Minister Biti has shown his malafides, to the point of seeking to block the unconditional funds due to Zimbabwe from the IMF, it would be a fatal mistake for the State to allow him anywhere near the disbursement of the US$512 million. His intentions are now compromised and he can no longer be trusted. Instead, the decision on how to use the IMF funds should be made by the principals in government under President Mugabe’s watch who in turn should give instructions to Treasury and the Reserve Bank with the approval of Cabinet. The matter is just too important and the stakes too high to be left to a "kiya-kiya" show.
But the one development in Zimbabwe which is potentially more serious than the illegal economic sanctions and which the Sadc meeting in Kinshasa must nip in the bud before it gets out of hand and sets a bad precedent is that the country now has two opposed governments in gross violation of not only the GPA but the Constitution of the land thereby raising dangerous national security issues.
Slowly but effectively, the Prime Minister’s office has since February used the false and misleading rhetoric of alleged outstanding GPA to evolve into a government within a government with the financial and intelligence support of the very same American and European countries that have sanctions in place and are now using the GPA as a new tool for illegal regime change under the cover of calls for constitutional, political and media reforms.
While the evidence of a government within the government that is being setup by the MDC-T is already gathering like the clouds of a clear storm, some of its signposts include the fact that Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s office now has civil servants who are paid top up salaries by agents of various hostile foreign governments including USAID. Some of these are working on the Prime Minister’s partisan Newsletter and are reportedly being paid some US$700 a week while their Co-ordinator, Andrew Chadwick, and other directors-such as a well known lady lawyer who left a high paying job at Artherstone and Cook to join the Prime Minister’s legal team-are earning at least US$7 000.00.
This has divided MDC-T ranks and raised national security eyebrows. To manage the growing internal grumbling, the highly paid civil servants in the Prime Minister’s office have made a Machiavellian offer to top up the salaries of MDC-T Cabinet Ministers and MPs, but the offer remains a pie in the sky.
In a dramatic development, Jacob Mafume who has been the American Embassy’s MDC-T link person under the payroll of USAID is now moving to the Prime Minister’s office with his current remuneration package or better to scale up his work in the MDC-T’s subversive government within the coalition government. In Bulawayo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office-Gorden Moyo-has setup an illegal office of the Prime Minister manned by one Dumisani Matshazi outside the official government structures at the premises of Bulawayo Agenda, an NGO that is heavily funded by USAID to promote the MDC-T’s government within the inclusive government in Matabeleland.
Anywhere else in the world, any civil servant who gets a secret top up salary from a foreign government would be prosecuted for treason.
What the MDC-T has established in the Prime Minister’s office is similar to how whites in the Rhodesian civil service were paid higher salaries than their black counterparts for doing similar or less work. What is particularly disturbing is that the Prime Minister’s civil servants are paid at least ten times what their colleagues in the rest of the government are getting with teachers and health workers getting peanuts.
Rather than listening to his misleading rhetoric about what he alleges to be outstanding GPA issues, Sadc leaders meeting in Kinshasa should ask Prime Minister Tsvangirai in the name of good governance why he is setting up a parallel government in his office and why hostile foreign countries are funding that government which is beyond the oversight of Zimbabweans, Sadc and the African Union.
*Professor Jonathan Moyo is a former Minister of Information and Publicity and is an independent legislator for Tsholotsho North.