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The prospects of a Government of National Unity

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The agreement to form a government of national unity between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations has been concluded, raising hopes for Zimbabweans to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding the country.

The GNU, signed by the three political parties namely ZANU PF represented by its President, Robert Mugabe, MDC-T by President, Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC represented by Professor Arthur Mutambara has come at a time when Zimbabwe is experiencing economic meltdown of immense proportions with all economic indicators pointing to a collapsing economy. The agreement has come at a time when Zimbabwens are exhausted and weary and are leaving the country in droves as they see no prospects for positive change both politically and economically. They see no prospect for change if the regime of Robert Mugabe is not democratically transformed so that it seriously addresses the issues that at the core of the citizen’s needs. The agreement has come in at a time when there seems to be no consensus both at home and abroad on what should be done first in order to deliver change to the people of Zimbabwe.

While there is a general agreement among political analysts both locally and internationally, that the agreement could have given ZANU PF breathing space to re-strategize, entrench itself and ultimately destroy the opposition, there is equally strong arguments that support the agreement and see it as the prescription that will turn the fortunes of Zimbabwe.

Given that the agreement was signed at the behest of the regional grouping, SADC as its under writers, one gets solace in that the regional body would want to ensure that the agreement succeeds. While the history of ZANU PF will vindicate those who argue that the agreement will fail because of ZANU PF’s unreliability and insincerity to the observance of the agreement, it is equally true that ZANU PF has never been subjected to an embarrassing electoral defeat such as the one handed to them by the MDC. This is likely to force ZANU PF to take a serious view of the power-sharing arrangement, as they would want to use it to restore some measure of respectability on the electoral loss suffered at the hands of MDC.

The MDC on the other hand has the opportunity to prove to all and sundry that the future of  Zimbabwe belongs to them and if given the opportunity to govern, they are an excellent alternative. One other aspect that works in favour of the MDC is the economy which seems to have bolted out of the control of ZANU PF and has over a decade shown to be their greatest opposition. ZANU PF cannot and will not turnaround the economy. If as expected under the inclusive government, the economy begins to work positively whether on account of the removal of sanctions or not, credit will go to the MDC. ZANU PF has had its fair share of 29 years of total failure and Zimbabweans are well aware of that.

One argument that has been proffered is that ZANU PF has allocated itself all the powerful security Ministries and will thus prevail over the opposition.  While this might sound true, I do not believe the allegiance and sympathy of Zimbabweans is earned on account of the power of force that one yields but rather on the fulfilment of promises that one has made to the Zimbabwean people. The ball is in the court of the opposition to prove to Zimbabweans that they can walk the talk by fulfilling the promises made over the years during their struggle for the democratisation of Zimbabwe.

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