Principals slammed for ‘double speak’

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe and his two colleagues in the unity government have been slammed for dressing the internecine problems in their administration that have left the power sharing deal hanging by a thread.

Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy – Arthur Mutambara – this week rallied to playdown the rift in the fragile government and instead, said progress has been made.

This was in sharp contrast to the utterances by both Mugabe and Tsvangirai who, recently, fired salvoes at each other by sending conflicting signals on the elections whose date is yet to be announced.

“The principals’ stance of talking over the table while shouting insults at each other during political rallies is a gimmick to appear organized before the eyes of SADC,” Takura Zhangazha, a political analyst, told the Daily News.

“They are just pretending to be organized so as to please SADC.”

Zhangazha said both Mugabe and Tsvangirai were consistent in their tones which signalled elections, and their rare act of solidarity on Monday, was meant to hoodwink the world.

The three principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), on Monday held a joint press briefing where they made a dramatic U-turn on elections, which Mugabe had said would be held with or without a new constitution.

“The next election, as far as the three of us are concerned, is a process-driven setting. No one here can tell you we are going to have elections on this date or that date,” said Tsvangirai while explaining the different signals on elections coming from his party and Zanu PF.

“Different political parties have different interpretations. But until such time as it can be discussed, when the time for elections comes and we have one common position, I think you have party positions and not national positions.

“This inclusive government has not collapsed and will not collapse. At least we will ensure that it is there to fulfil its mandate for the duration of the transition until an election is conducted,” he said.

Civil Rights defender Pedzisai Ruhanya accused Mugabe and his two colleagues of double speak.

Said Ruhanya: “When the politicians preach peace on television this should transcend to the grass roots. What the country needs now is a culture of tolerance,” said Ruhanya.

Ruhanya observed that while the two major political parties in the country had been calling for peaceful elections, the undertones of their speeches left a lot to be desired.  

“People should know that we are all humans after all and we should respect each other. We are one of the African countries with a high literacy rate and this should show on how we deal with each other,” said Ruhanya.

Speaking at the just-ended Zanu PF national congress, President Mugabe urged his supporters to desist from violence during election time, but told them to retaliate if attacked by opposition.

“But we must fight back if attacked; we must not fold our hands if we are provoked,” he said. – Daily News