Nearly a year since Zimbabwe’s coalition government was formed, an official of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party said while there has been improvement in atmosphere, major differences still remain.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara held a mutually respectful end-of-year joint news conference Wednesday raising hopes of progress in the coalition government.
But Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change said the MDC hopes the remaining issues can be resolved by mid-January 2010.
“What is clear is that the delay we have witnessed in terms of the implementation of the GPA (Global Political Agreement) has not been helpful. We would have wished that the issues be resolved, but that has not happened. We have spent almost a year talking about talks,” he said.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai who earlier this year temporarily withdrew from the coalition government, said Wednesday he was optimistic the remaining issues would be resolved by the new year.
Chamisa said those outstanding issues include the case of MDC deputy agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett.
“Most of the critical issues that were raised, issues to deal with the reserve bank governor and attorney general in terms of their appointment, the issue of the swearing in of Roy Bennett who is our minister-designate for deputy agriculture. Mr. Mugabe has refused against the will and spirit of the inclusive government and global political agreement to swear in Honorable Mr. Bennett,” Chamisa said.
He said the MDC also has other outstanding issues to resolve, including national security institutions and their respect to the office of the Prime Minister.
During Wednesday’s joint news conference, President Mugabe said the Zimbabwe economy was improving, which he attributed to the fact that the inclusive government must be working.
Chamis said while the direction of the inclusive government was good, the spirit was not satisfactory.
“It’s important that we move away from the stabilization paradigm, from the stabilization economics to growth economics. We are not yet there. We are just trying to stop the hemorrhage,” he said.
Chamisa said the MDC believes that in order to focus on growth economics there needs to be fraternity and confidence building.
He said if the outstanding issues are not resolved by mid-January, the MDC would seek the intervention of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Chamisa said he believes SADC’s new point man President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is starting in the right direction.
“We do appreciate the effort of South Africa because it has breathed a fresh sense of objectivity and unbiased interrogation of issues. And we hope that this attribute will continue. It will be good for Zimbabwe, it will be good for the region and indeed the continent,” Chamisa said.
He said the MDC wants to resolve the problems of Zimbabwe within the borders of Africa. But Chamisa said the effort should not just be empty slogans.