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Zimbabwe Marks First Anniversary of Political Agreement Amid Rising Tensions

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Zimbabwe on Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Global Political Agreement underpinning the unity government installed in February, even as parties to the power-sharing pact turned up the rhetoric over alleged noncompliance with its terms.

On September 15, 2008, following months of political turmoil after March presidential and general elections and a June presidential runoff amid widespread, deadly violence, President Robert Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change founder Morgan Tsvangirai, today prime minister, and MDC formation leader Arthur Mutambara signed the GPA in Harare.

On that occasion, Mr. Mugabe thanked the leadership of the Southern African Development Community for helping Zimbabwe through the long negotiating process.

Mr. Tsvangirai said he hoped the GPA would lead to a democratic transition in Zimbabwe.

Mutambara rightly predicted that the harder task of implementation lay ahead.

Many Zimbabweans are pleased that the unity government has made food more available, that hyperinflation has been extinguished and the economy is mending, and that the battered education and health systems are being restored. But in recent days Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the MDC have been feuding bitterly over longstanding unresolved issues.

Those include the tenure of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, close Mugabe allies who were reappointed or appointed, respectively, by the president in late 2008 without consulting his GPA co-signatories. Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC formation in particular has demanded that both men be replaced.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper on Tuesday quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as accusing Mr. Tsvangirai of working with the West to maintain sanctions against President Mugabe and many other senior ZANU-PF officials, associates and related companies.

Political analyst John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe professor, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that not much has changed politically under the GPA mainly due to ZANU-PF's lack of commitment to true power sharing.

Bulawayo-based Political analyst Mandlenkosi Gatsheni told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the GPA remains largely unfulfilled because of ZANU-PF intransigence.

Reporter Sandra Nyaira interviewed Zimbabweans Tongai Matonga of Masvingo and Tendai Magariro of Harare on the changes they have seen in the past year.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...