African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 191


The politics of the government of national unity (GNU) and power sharing in Zimbabwe: Challenges and prospects for democracy

  Percyslage Chigora* and Tobias Guzura        
Department of History and Development Studies, Midlands State University, Gweru, Zimbabwe.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 21 February 2011
  •  Published: 31 March 2011



September 2008 marked a new era in Zimbabwean politics, as a united front between the major political parties enabled the forging of an agreement that laid the foundation for a government of national unity. The unity government has brought hope not only to Zimbabweans but also to the international community for many view it as a purveyor of better moves for the country and its overall standing in the region and beyond. It is the purpose of this paper to provide an overview of the politics of governments of national unity in Zimbabwe from the first post-colonial government of national unity (GNU), the 1987 Unity Accord and the current 2008 GNU. It is the purpose of this research to bring to the fore, the dangers posed by the much-touted government of national unity to the prospects of the nascent democratic movement in Zimbabwe. The paper posits that among other factors, through the removal of a government in waiting, confinement to specific political parties, the exclusion of civil society and other new political players and critics of government policy in institutions promoting democracy; the GNU is clearly a negation of democracy. The paper also makes critical analysis of the viability, pros and cons of governments of national unity by, presenting the challenges that the GNUs encountered or, is likely going to encounter in Zimbabwe. For clarity and provision of a balanced analysis, the current GNU 's prospects of success are provided as well.


Key words: Government of national unity (GNU), authoritarianism, power sharing, democracy, Zimbabwe.