GNU keeping Zimbabwe from chaos

LONDON – A British parliamentarian has warned that the fragile marriage of convenience between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was the only thing standing “between Zimbabwe and chaos” and said more efforts should be invested to ensure that the country does not slide back to the pre-2009 political crisis.

Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Malcolm Bruce described the political climate in Zimbabwe as a disaster but cautioned that there were no quick fixes to the problems besetting the fragile coalition government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai 22 months ago.

“Frankly, that government are the only thing that stands between Zimbabwe and chaos and we must use whatever influence we have to try to persuade people, wherever they are, that there is a better place for Zimbabwe to head for than back to where it was,” the MP told the United Kingdom’s House of Commons during debate on Zimbabwe last week. Bruce is chairman of the House of Commons’ International Development Committee which visited Zimbabwe in February to review UK-funded aid projects in the southern African country.

In his report to the House of Commons, Bruce said observance of the global political agreement (GPA)—the basis of Zimbabwe’s government of national unity—is highly dysfunctional but noted that it has helped to create some space in which positive things can happen. He added that his committee “saw genuine benefit to people who had been in abject hopelessness prior to that agreement”.

The MP said the British government should continue to engage with the Harare authorities in order to help Zimbabwe avoid sliding back to the chaos experienced prior to the formation of the coalition regime in February 2009.

"We must do nothing that allows this troubled partnership to be brought to an end and the re-establishment of a one-party state. That would set back not just Zimbabwe but the whole of southern Africa for another generation," Bruce said. He however ruled out the lifting of visa and financial restrictions against Mugabe and senior Zanu (PF) officials, charging that there has been no significant movement in terms of fulfilling the pre-condition of instituting much-needed political reforms in Zimbabwe.