Government of National Unity

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Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, the principles of the Government of National Unity

The Government of National Unity was a coalition government between the three major political parties in Zimbabwe formed on 13 February 2009 after the signing of the Global Political Agreement.


The need for a coalition government rose after the 2008 parliamentary as well as Presidential elections which were marred with violence and human rights violations. The official results of the presidential election were only announced after a month resulting in claims of vote rigging by the Movement for Democratic Change. the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced on May 2 that Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC has won the election with 47,9% against Robert Mugabe's 43,2%. However Tsvangirai failed to garner the 51% required by law necessitating a run-off slated for 27 June. Tsvangirai withdrew from the election on 23 June following intimidation of his supporters. He said 86 people had been killed and 10 000 injured in the violence. About 10 000 homes had been destroyed, displacing 200 000 people.[1] However the election went ahead with many people being forced to vote for Mugabe. It is alleged what made the situation worse is that many of the ZEC officials who presided over the March 29 elections were replaced by Zanu PF loyalists for the June 27 run off.[2] Many countries did not recognize the elections as free and fair paving way for negotiations mediated by the then South African President Thabo Mbeki that started on 23 July 2008.

Power Sharing

The negotiations ended on 11 September 2008 with the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF), MDC led by Tsvangirai and MDC led by Arthur Mutambara reaching an agreement. This followed the inauguration of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe and Mutambara as Deputy Prime Ministers. The Tsvangirai-led MDC was allocated 13 ministries, the MDC led by Mutambara 3, and ZANU PF was allocated 15 ministries under the agreement[3]

Outstanding Issues

The principles of the GNU failed to implement some provisions outlined in the Global Political Agreement.Some of the disagreements were left unresolved even after the tenure of the GNU.The notable isues were disagrements over media reforms that included failure to repeal restrictive statutes such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA). There were also disagreements in the appointment of senior political officils notably Attorney General Johannes Tomana, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, and Deputy Agriculture Roy Bennett.[4]


In its four year existence, the GNU, facilitated improvements in the economy, health and housing. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded a 10,6% growth and inflation decreased from the 231 million percent recorded in 2008 to less than 5% in 2013.In agriculture tobacco production grew from 56 000 tonnes in 2008 to 134 000 in the 2012 season.[5] The drafting of a new constitution in 2013 was also a major feature achieved by the coalition government.


  1. Owen Gagare, Alarming intimidation August 10, 2012, Retrieved June 30, 2014
  2. Zimbabwe Elections : 2008 Sokwanele, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  3. Lebo Nkatazo, In letter, Mugabe appoints Tsvangirai Prime Minister New Zimbabwe Published: December 18, 2008, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  4. Two years of GNU – Stormy weather ahead..., Zimbabwe Watch, Published: February 8, 2011, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  5. ,Zimbabwe’s economy during the life of the coalition government, News Day Published: September 5, 2013, Retrieved: June 30, 2014

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