Coalition Governement to serve full 5 year term – Zanu PF
MUTARE – The Co-chairperson for Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reforms and Member of Parliament (MP) for Chivi Central constituency (Zanu PF) Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana told journalists here on Thursday to stop talking about Zimbabwe holding fresh elections soon.
“No one is ready to leave power. All the politicians are not at liberty when it comes to issues they know will affect their terms of offices.
I want to plead with you journalists to remain quite about elections so that we would be able to finish the constitution making process," he said. “Once you start to talk about elections then be assured that we will not be able to finish this process.”
Mangwana said the chaos which is rocking the constitutional making process was being caused by politicians who did not want elections soon.
“This is clear, how can people want the constitution that will see them being challenged. For us to have a credible and uncompromised constitution in this country, we then have to shelve the fresh election issue,” he said.
He also argued that most MPs still believe that they shall serve for five years.
The people in Zimbabwe were pushing for the fast track of constitution making process to pave way for fresh elections there after.
Meanwhile, realising he is being duped by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has finally given in to relentless pressure from major civic society groups leading a defiance campaign against the current constitution-making process driven by Parliament.
The groups, led by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), want the inclusive government to surrender control of the constitution-making process to independent organisations.
The NCA and two other dissenting organisations are said to have convinced the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader at a no-holds-barred meeting held last weekend he should go back to his colleagues in government and push for the amendment of Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), as a condition to their participation.
The controversial clause gives the inclusive government the authority to lead the constitution-making process.
According to the GPA, the role of civic society was only to assist the Parliamentary Select Committee “as may be necessary” to discharge its mandate.
But in an apparent bid to mend his party’s deteriorating relationship with its long-time allies, Tsvangirai requested a meeting with the three organisations at the party’s headquarters last Saturday.
The two other organisations that attended the meeting alongside the NCA were the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe National Student Union (ZINASU). The three organisations facilitated the creation of the MDC back in 1999.
The meeting was also attended by Thokozani Khuphe, Tsvangirai’s deputy, secretary general Tendai Biti, Adv Eric Matinenga, Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs in the inclusive government and a handful of other top MDC officials.
Sources privy to the discussions revealed that the three groups told Tsvangirai in no uncertain terms that they were not going to be party to the current constitution-making process for as long as Parliament was driving it.
The three, it is said, also dismissed appeals by the MDC leader who asked them to understand the GPA was “not a perfect solution” to what had become a political paralysis in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai also said the GPA was conceived under “subjective” circumstances.
They were also livid over what they view as the MDC’s temerity in discussing and agreeing with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, on the clause without first consulting the stakeholders on the issue.
The painstaking negotiations between Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties led by Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who is now Deputy Prime Minister, were brokered by the SADC and the African Union. The negotiations were conducted in an atmosphere of secrecy.
The outcome was unveiled in a signing ceremony conducted on September 15, 2008, in the presence of some African leaders and members of the diplomatic community.
Over the weekend the NCA, ZCTU and ZINASU are said to have berated Tsvangirai for allegedly abandoning the MDC’s founding principles, which they helped to draft, by agreeing to impose on Zimbabwe a “cease fire” document similar to the current Lancaster House Constitution adopted in 1979.
“We also did not hide our anger with the MDC whose naivety created this needless contest around the Kariba Draft document by appending their signatures to it,” said the source.
Zanu-PF is adamant the constitution-making process should be anchored on the controversial document crafted by MDC and Zanu PF representatives in the resort town of Kariba. The document leaves the President’s excessive powers intact.
The organisations, it was revealed, also said they were angered by the “arrogant” attitude that had been adopted by some MDC politicians who were now allegedly telling their supporters in rural areas to beat up people found wearing the NCA’s “Take Charge” T-shirts.
“Take Charge” is the slogan adopted by the NCA in its campaign against the government controlled process.
The source said some delegates at the meeting even protested that Tsvangirai now suddenly had a favourable disposition towards those civic groups that proposed last year that he should step aside and allow Simba Makoni to become leader of what would then have become an opposition coalition of the two MDC parties and other opposition parties to contest the elections against Mugabe under one umbrella.
Makoni, now leader of the opposition Mavambo/Kusile party, had just broken away from Zanu-PF to challenge Mugabe and Tsvangirai in the March 29, 2008 Presidential elections. His performance was dismal.
At a civic society convention to craft the People’s Charter in February last year, the NCA, ZCTU and ZINASU, it is said, were among the organisations that campaigned strongly against Makoni’s imposition.
During the weekend meeting, Tsvangirai is said to have agreed to approach his fellow principals in the GPA to propose an amendment to Article 6.
This, it is said, would allow for the creation of a constitutional commission that would completely be independent of government influence. Tsvangirai’s will be an uphill task, considering President Mugabe’s known intransigence in matters that threaten his hold on power.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa refused to discuss the subject.
“I do not know what you are talking about,” he said.
But ZCTU secretary general, Wellington Chibhebhe, NCA spokesperson, Maddock Chivasa and ZINASU president, Clever Bere, each confirmed they had participated in “fruitful discussions” with the MDC leader.
For up to six months now, the MDC has been battling to apply pressure on Mugabe to desist from blocking the full implementation of crucial reforms as provided for in the GPA.
Mugabe is adamant that the MDC acts under pressure from hostile Western governments, which he accuses of sponsoring the party to facilitate a regime change agenda against his controversial rule.
By giving in, Mugabe says he would have compromised “the revolution”, now a euphemism for his relentless and vice-like grip on power.
Zanu-PF unequivocally stated its position last week. The party’s deputy information secretary declared that Zanu-PF would not make any further concessions on the GPA unless the MDC started to campaign for the removal of Western imposed sanctions. (Additional reporting by the Zimbabwe Times)