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No government without consensus



WHILE President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ruled out prospects of a government of national unity, a transitional authority or an election re-run in the aftermath of the country’s recent badly flawed and disputed polls, a governance expert is pressing on with a petition demanding a transitional authority.


Academic, author and publisher Ibbo Mandaza said: “Well, we have made a proposal through a petition which is highlighting the fact that the election is disputed and seriously so. And secondly that, this might be the opportunity, with the help of the region, in particular Sadc, South Africa, AU for a transitional government which is different from the GNU of 2009, which will be charged with the reform agenda as a basis. It must be reformed and must be charged with the reform agenda, in order to overcome and transcend the problems that have been facing the country over the last two decades.”

Mandaza said this in an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation on the sidelines of his lecture held at South Africa’s Wits University.

“The lecture was an appeal for South Africa and Sadc to do the obvious. That there is room, and we believe that with the kind of consensus around the report, and a clear message from the Sadc mission itself, that there is a basis to begin a new era. Even Zimbabweans themselves, both Zanu PF and the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) know that the country cannot continue like this.”

A transitional authority is a temporary government that is established to oversee a period of transition from one government to another in countries that have overseen conflict or political instability among others.

Zimbabwe, which held chaotic general elections on 23 August, was plunged into yet another legitimacy crisis with the Sadc Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM), for the first time, pointing out grey areas in Zimbabwe’s polls, much to the chagrin of Zanu PF.

“While the pre-election and voting phases were peaceful and calm, the mission noted that some aspects of the Harmonised Elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act and the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing democratic elections,” the preliminary SEOM report said.

Over the weekend, Mnangagwa said the government will not allow talks of a transitional government.

“We strongly condemn the opposition who are rejecting democracy and constitutionalism in our country by disregarding our laws, our institutions and our processes. Zimbabwe under Zanu PF will never be a banana republic,” Mnangagwa said during the Zanu Party central committee meeting held in Harare.

“The people have granted our revolutionary mass party Zanu PF yet another mandate to govern our great motherland Zimbabwe. This is the reality that the leaders of the opposition, their supporters and their handlers must face in the next five years.  Entertaining any talk of a re-run, a Government of National Unity or a so-called Transitional Authority is a pipedream that will never happen. They must wake up from their delusions.”

As previously reported by The NewsHawks, Mnangagwa has been advised to think in the best interests of the people of Zimbabwe. Last week, former South African leader Thabo Mbeki urged Mnangagwa to think in the best interests of the people, as part of bringing a solution to the electoral crisis.

“After the 2008 elections which were very disputed, and the second round of the elections marked by violence. After that, the Zimbabwe parties agreed that the only way to respond to this reality is that they should come together and form a Government of National Unity (GNU). It was a response to what had happened during the elections,” Mbeki said in an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly summit.

“As I have said, I was directly involved in those processes then, but I have not been now. In 2008 when the Zimbabweans themselves could see that the election could not produce a winner, the best thing to do is to sit and see what we can do together.”

Citing himself as an example after he did not resist removal as president of the African National Congress (ANC) in 2008, Mbeki said Mnangagwa should think in the best interests of Zimbabweans.

“And that kind of approach, if one says I am a leader of the people of South Africa. What must inspire you is not my position as ANC president or president of the republic, when I had to leave in 2008. It was to say, ‘what is the best interest of the country’? The decision of the ANC was wrong and I said so publicly. They pitched themselves on a wrong opinion expressed by a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and the SCA rebuked the judge and said he should have never said things like that. I knew that,” Mbeki said.

“But in the interests of what happens to South Africa, I thought it was best to say let’s go along with this wrong decision, because to have said ‘No’, to say ‘I’m not going,’ would have created an enormous crisis. I am just saying that because I think people are holding on to political positions. I represent and lead South Africa, I must act as a leader. Same as the leaders of the people of Zimbabwe. What is in the best interests of the people of Zimbabwe? That is how I would have tackled the matter.”

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