GNU leaves indelible print

HARARE - Zimbabweans will soon troop to the polls for the umpteenth time in less than a decade-and-a-half to “choose” a new government.

The new vote comes in the wake in which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his band of democrats under the MDC banner have taken time in government and tasted real political power for the first time through the Government of National Unity (GNU).

President Robert Mugabe now 89 had been in power for an unbroken three decades until the 2008 elections when he found himself cornered and narrowly lost to Tsvangirai in the presidential election.

Following a bloody electoral one man show by Mugabe after Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off, regional power broker Sadc and the African Union nudged Mugabe into an uneasy coalition with his political nemesis.

Tsvangirai grudgingly agreed to a GNU knowing fully well he was getting into a tricky partnership.

While in some circles the coalition government has been labelled “rape child”, the period it has operated (2009 to 2013) probably presented the best economic fortunes for Zimbabwe since the turn of the century.

The four years have had a fair share of successes and failures.

A report by the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (Zimstat) titled “Poverty, Income, Consumption and Expenditure Survey” (Pices) despite painting a sorry state of affairs on the country’s poverty situation reveals that the coalition government’s policies have stabilised the country to a very large extent.

Zimstat credits the coalition government with stabilising a then moribund economy and initiating policies that ameliorated the lives of suffering citizens.

“The new government launched the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp I) for the period, February to December 2009.

The government also developed Fiscal and Monetary Policy Statements and implemented the Three Year Rolling Macroeconomic and Budget Framework, 2010 to 2012 (Sterp II).

“At the same time the government developed a Medium Term Plan (MTP) for the period 2011 to 2015.  All the three policies are aimed at stimulating sustained economic recovery and growth,” the report said.

Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown was precipitated by an ill-informed participation from 1998 to 2002 in the Democratic Republic Congo civil war and an unbudgeted payout of millions under the pilfered War Victims Compensation Fund from which several government officials benefited corruptly with some arguing the suffered over a 100 percent disability during the country’s bush war.

The unbudgeted expenditure by Mugabe’s government to pacify restive former guerrilla fighters led to what has become known as “Black Friday” in reference to November 14, 1998 when the country’s currency lost over half of its value in a single day.

What followed triggered a number of other detrimental developments among them the chaotic land redistributions that commenced in 2000.

In those ensuring years, Zimbabwe’s economy according to official figures had shrunk significantly with inflation surging to an astonishing 231 million percent while unemployment was above 85 percent.

Amidst of all this Mugabe’s party continued to harp on about liberation war gains, consolidating the land reform programme and has in recent months initiated another contentious piece of legislation that forces investors to part with 51 percent of their businesses.

The birth of the GNU however changed the face of many fronts.

The coalition government was mandated to craft a new governance charter among a plethora of challenges the country was facing at the time.

Four years of acrimonious wrangling resulted in a document that all parties say are not happy with but have agreed to work with; for the good of the country.

The biggest score from the coalition government is arguably the ability of the country’s warring political parties to seemingly coexist albeit hesitantly.

Once an acerbic critic of Tsvangirai and his MDC party, Mugabe seems to have softened and now acknowledges the MDC’s existence.

Mugabe, who has at every turn shouted at the MDC, labelling it a puppet party created by the West now preaches coexistence with the labour party and says Zimbabweans have a choice to support it.

Mugabe’s call for peaceful coexistence has not resonated well with some in his party, especially the security sector which continue to make insinuations they are ready to stage a coup d’état in the event of a Tsvangirai victory.

But even in the eyes of many in Mugabe’s party, Tsvangirai remains the country’s biggest democratic hope.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.