Weary Zimbabweans Unhappy With Slow GPA Progress

September 15 marked, exactly a year since the signing of the SADC brokered GPA between President Robert Mugabe’s ZanuMDC parties led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara.

But analysts say very little has changed since the signing of the GPA.

“It’s two steps forward two steps back. Changes are very limited and there is really nothing to show on the ground since the last 12 months,“ said University of Zimbabwe based political analyst, John Makumbe.

Makumbe said the only thing that Zimbabweans got from the GPA so far is optimism only. “The major result of this GPA has been the optimism of the people but nothing tangible in terms of real change that people are yearning for,“ said Makumbe.

He however said that Mugabe’s Zanu PF party had been stalling the progress of the coalition government by refusing to fully implement the GPA.

“The lack of change has been as a result of Zanu PF’s reluctance to share power and implement the provisions of the political agreement,“ Makumbe added.

PF and the two President Mugabe is on Thursday due to hold a press briefing for all editors at State House ostensibly to give them a run-down of the first anniversary of the GPA).

In what is a first by Mugabe in recent years, his office on Wednesday invited all accredited editors of both public and private media to the presidential briefing on the year-long government of national unity.

But despite the failure by the coalition government to bring change to the country, there has been significant change in the service sectors.

Hospitals, schools and shops which were by this time last year closed are now operating. A devastating cholera epidemic which claimed the lives of more than 4000 people have been contained and a ranging hyper-inflationary environment which saw Zimbabwe breaking the record of having the highest inflation rate in the world is now a thing of the past.

But Harare political analyst and chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Lovemore Madhuku argues that the change has only been marginal.

“There was marginal change in the end of the hyper-inflationary environment but although there is too much food people still can’t buy that food. The change is stagnant and the economy is still in trouble,“ said Madhuku.

“The real change that the people are looking for is in terms of freedom and respect of human rights which is still a far-fetched dream as witnessed by the banning of a ZCTU meeting in Highfield at the weekend. Nothing has changed people’s human rights are still being violated through arbitrary arrests and all sorts of Zanu PF tactics.“

Ordinary people who spoke to Radio VOP were of the opinion that the GPA has so far failed to meet their expectations.

“We welcome the unity government. We have so far seen schools, hospitals and shops opening. The introduction of the multi-currency system has helped us because we can now plan our lives but the problem is that we still don‘t have jobs,“ said Alec Mponda, a Harare mobile phone card vendor.

Theresa Chingwena a chain supermarket worker, said there is no difference in her circumstances since the signing of the GPA.

“Nothing has changed, that time you could get money but there was nothing to buy but now its vice-versa,  you have something to buy but you can’t get the money,“ said Chingwena.

Mugabe and long-time foe, Tsvangirai, formed a power-sharing government in February as part of a SADC-backed deal to end a political crisis that followed disputed polls last year.

But the power-sharing deal is beset with problems. Tsvangirai’s MDC accuses Mugabe’s ZANU PF of failing to honour an agreement to reverse the appointments of political allies to the key posts of central bank governor and attorney general.

On the other hand ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.

The power-sharing government says it requires US$10 billion to rebuild Zimbabwe’s shattered economy. Western nations have declined to bankroll the Harare administration demanding more political reforms and full implementation of the power-sharing agreement between ZANU PF and the MDC.

An EU delegation which was in the country at the weekend said the bloc will not remove sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe until GPA is fully implemented and the establishment of a human rights regime where the rule of law is respected.