Is Zimbabwe’s Power Sharing Government Legitimate?

It puzzled and concerned me as I read a report on the website Earth Times that poses some interesting and potentially dangerous questions about the power sharing agreement made between Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC party. A Legal practitioner with a background in constitutional issues, Sheila Jarvis, pointed out that the paperwork signed by Parliament six months ago is totally different to the paperwork that was signed by Robert Mugabe himself.

Rule of law in Zimbabwe dictates that in order for an act to be passed it has to be approved by parliament and the President together. According to Sheila Jarvis, “It is impossible, legally, to have an act in two different versions – one version approved by parliament, and another by the president!”

“Until the entire bill is approved by the legislature and signed by the president it will remain as nothing,” she said.

This set of comments came to light as the MDC seem to have discovered that only half of the 36 page document approved in parliament was sent to the president’s office for signature. Apparently the Attorney General’s office did not bother with the missing pages because the “Weren’t important and the office wanted to save on paper.” Since when has paper been an issue for a government department when it comes to approving an act of parliament?

While the MDC has registered its concern about the flawed process, the worrying factor is that Sheila Jarvis points out in her interview that the missing text could give Mugabe absolute control over the management of future referendums, including one on the new constitution  in 2010.

What really concerns me is one simple question. What does this revelation do to the validity of the Act that empowers MDC as a fully fledged partner of this power sharing government? Is this just another ploy of the existing regime to thwart the efforts of the MDC? Does this mean that all their hard work goes to the dogs?

Admittedly we can all stand back and say that the power sharing government has not been at all what any of us expected or hoped for. But let’s be honest, it is not easy to be in Morgan Tsvangirai’s shoes. I have heard and read a lot of critisism of the MDC and Morgan in recent months, but he is a mere man in a lion’s den. And these are not the type of lions we read about in the parable of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

With both hands tied, even Morgan Tsvangirai questions the commitment and support of this process from others involved in making the transition to a free and fair democratic society. In his speech to his supporters in Manicaland this weekend, Hon Tsvangirai said he believed that there were people working against the spirit of the people of Zimbabwe.

If this is the case, and there are fundamental flaws in the legal process that gives the GPA its powers then where are we really headed? It’s all very well for Hon Tsvangirai to say that the party refuses to be seduced into other ways of solving the crisis in Zimbabwe, but what will happen when faced with an election the MDC realises it is powerless?

In some ways I admire the MDC for even agreeing to work with the Mugabe regime. They took on a massive challenge, and knew that the competition would not play fair. They have been hood winked, and thwarted and yet have still made progress in some ways. The Zanu PF pour criticism on the fact that the MDC have not succeeded in lifting the sanctions placed on Mugabe and his cronies, and I smile when I read this.

It’s not MDC’s job to clear Mugabe’s name. Let the man come out himself and convince the world he is worth of forgiveness. Yes forgiveness. Not for being a part of the struggle to free Zimbabwe as it deserved to be freed. But forgiveness for bringing a nation to its knees and destroying the livelihood and prosperity of a people. Why should the MDC struggle to get sanctions against the Zanu PF dropped? There are far more pressing issues at stake.

There is no easy answer for Zimbabwe, and I think I agree with the sentiment that so many seem to echo when I read their blogs and reports. Zimbabwe will never come right until such time as the central power house of Mugabe and the Zanu PF is broken and removed to allow freedom of choice and pure democracy to reign in Zimbabwe again. Mugabe did not win the war of Liberation on his own. Many people fought and sacrificed far more than he did. A nation of black people fought to be allowed to choose their leaders, provide a home for their children and own land for prosperity. This is not the result Zimbabwe has enjoyed under Mugabe. It would seem life is harder today than in 1980 when Mugabe took his place at the helm.

I can only watch as others far from home do, and read the reports and feel dismay at the chance that all the progress we thought we had made is now in jeopardy. I hope for the sake of Zimbabwe and the world beyond that the progress gained thus far is not blown out of the water by a megalomaniac dictator hell bent on keeping control of “His Zimbabwe!”


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