With the continuing political turmoil in Zimbabwe, some say moves are underway for a government of national unity. However, two university professors in South Africa warn that such a government will fail unless it reflects the popular will demonstrated by the apparent opposition victory in the recent elections.
David Moore of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and David Sanders of the University of the Western Cape have co-written an article on Zimbabwe.
From Durban, Professor Moore spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about prospects for a national unity government. He says it appears the South African government and some members of the ruling ZANU-PF party had a plan.
“This would be based on the government of national unity that came about in South Africa after the long, long negotiations upon the demise of the apartheid regime. So, the South Africans would like to see a government of national unity, which would be an arrangement between the Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC, which is the party which has won the elections and indeed has won the elections since 2000. But they’ve been stolen. They would like to have some segments of ZANU-PF, including perhaps (President) Mugabe himself, and the MDC to create a transitional government that would tide things over,” he says.
Moore says a government of national unity was seriously being considered.
“Now, indeed I think this is a very, very firm plan. And I think judging by some sources that have been talking to me lately there was a plan that apparently Mugabe agreed to that (opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai would claim a majority and Mugabe would then claim that he had 47 percent or something like that. But then they would agree to have a government of national unity and Mugabe would be able to look like a real statesman and be protected from the international court (ICC) and so on. Now apparently that deal has been rejected probably by some of the leaders of the Zimbabwe military. And so people are trying to negotiate a remaking of that deal,” he says.
Moore and Professor Sanders describe a government of national unity as a “mirage.”
“What I mean by a mirage is I don’t think it can happen and is probably not right that it would happen anyway because…the democratic will of the people has been expressed through a vote and the MDC has won. So if it is indeed a government of national unity, it should be a government of national unity coordinated by the winners,” he says.
He says that the military appears split on the political outcome. However, he believes the majority of the rank and file and junior officers do not support Mugabe.