An oversight committee – deemed crucial to the success of Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal – is struggling to hold meetings because of a lack of money.
The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) was constituted on 30 January 2009 by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Facilitation Team, to ensure that the signatories abided by the terms of Zimbabwe’s Global Political agreement, signed on 15 September 2008.
Ronnie Mamoepa, South Africa’s foreign affairs spokesman, has said that JOMIC was “up and running”. Its guarantors are the African Union and SADC, and its facilitator is former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Elton Mangoma, a JOMIC co-chairperson, painted a different picture while indicating that the oversight body was being stifled by cash shortages, which meant it did not have a permanent office to hold meetings, and had no administrative staff or travel expenses.
The function of JOMIC, according to SADC negotiators, was “to ensure the implementation, in letter and spirit, of the Global Political Agreement”, consider steps to ensure “full implementation”, act as a conduit for complaints, and serve to promote “an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding between the parties”.
JOMIC was established in the wake of 15 September, when the political rivalries between Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) refused to subside and threatened to scupper the power-sharing deal.
The signatories to the deal – ZANU-PF, the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and a break-away MDC party led by Arthur Mutumbura – each have four representatives in the 12-person oversight forum.
Among each party’s representatives there is a “co-chairperson”, who chairs the oversight body every three months on a rotating basis.
Mutumbura’s representatives are Welshman Ncube (co-chairperson and current JOMIC chair), Frank Chamunorwa, Edward Mkhosi and Priscilla Misihairambi-Mushonga.
Tsvangirai’s representatives are Mangoma (co-chairperson), Elias Mudzuri, Tabita Khumalo and Innocent Changonda.
ZANU-PF is represented by Nicholas Goche (co-chairperson) Patrick Chinamasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Oppah Muchinguri.
Mangoma said the “three or four meetings we have had” were held in “good spirits”, and sought resolutions on “flashpoints” such as the continued detention of MDC activists – including the recent arrest of deputy minister designate Roy Bennett – fresh evictions of white farmers, and hate speech in the media.
He said apart from the cash shortage making it difficult for JOMIC to travel to areas to investigate allegations such as violence, Khumalo and Mkhosi, who live in Bulawayo, had been unable to attend meetings in Harare because of the travel costs, as was the case for Muchinguri, who lives in Mutare.