Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has hinted for the first time that his MDC party would pull out of the seven month inclusive government if it fails to work to its satisfaction. He was addressing journalists in Harare to mark the first anniversary of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) yesterday evening.
He said, “We are not tied up by anything other than the fact that we volunteered to be in this government and what will stop us from leaving? (…) We have an option of getting out if we think that it’s not working. But what we want to emphasis is that when we say its irreversible we are not saying things will not change, we just say this is the only option that gives direction to the people of Zimbabwe and on that we are very committed.”
A Tsvanagirai pullout could plunge Zimbabwe back into a deep economic and political crisis. Basic necessities such as sugar, tea leaves, mealie-meal, cereals, toilet paper, salt, bath soap, petroleum jelly, flour, rice, cooking oil, biscuits and eggs among others are increasingly becoming available on the market unlike in the past years when they where only found on the black market at exorbitant prizes.
Tsvangirai said he was disappointed by the failure of Zimbabwe’s new coalition government to solve the outstanding political issues. The leaders of the three main political parties in Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF and the two MDCs signed the GPA on September 15, 2008.
Zimbabwe is expected to be on the agenda of the 29th SADC summit to be
held in Kinshasa, Congo DR early next week. The SADC secretariat is yet to release the full agenda of the summit which will be held on September 7 and 8, but the summit coincides with SADC’s review of the allocation of ministerial positions in Zimbabwe’s inclusive government, which the regional bloc said it would review after six months.
The inclusive government came into being in February and the assessment was due in August. “…the allocation of ministerial portfolios endorsed by the SADC Extraordinary Summit held on November 9, 2008, shall be reviewed six months after the inauguration of the inclusive government,” states the SADC summit communique of January 27, 2009.
The SADC is a guarantor of Zimbabwe’s power-sharing agreement alongside the African Union. However, analysts fear that once Zuma passes on the Sadc chairmanship to the inexperienced President Joseph Kabila, Mugabe will return to his arrogant ways. “Zuma should have taken Zimbabwe much earlier in his tenure as chairman of Sadc,” political scientist Eldred Masunungure said.
Kabila is one of Mugabe’s few remaining allies in the region.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai are deadlocked over several outstanding issues, among them Mugabe’s arbitrary appointment of two top allies to head the central bank and attorney general’s office in violation of the power-sharing agreement that says such appointments should be by consensus.