Constitution of Zimbabwe


President Mugabe and his party Zanu PF have taken umbrage over
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s invitation by the US President Barack
Obama to the Democratic Convention in the United States accusing the MDC
leader of ignoring of what they say is a crucial principals meeting at home
to discuss issues of national interest.

Democrats launch their case for Barack Obama’s re-election at their party
convention on Tuesday, looking to draw a sharp contrast with Republican Mitt
Romney and convince voters that the U.S. president deserves four more years to fix the economy.

A source in the Prime Minister’s office last night said there was no
scheduled meeting between the Prime Minister and his coalition counterparts.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora confirmed his boss was in North
Carolina, at the invitation of the Democratic Party that he said shared the
‘‘same interests and principles’’ with MDC-T.

“He is there with the full mandate of the party as he is on a drive to
strengthen our international relationship with other countries.

“The Constitution-making process was completed and we now have a draft
Constitution.

“It is President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party who are trying to rewrite the
Global Political Agreement and refusing that document to go the Second All
Stakeholders’ Conference.”

Mr Mwonzora said there was no need for Principals to meet to discuss the
Copac draft.

“The GPA is clear on what should be done. Before he (Mr Tsvangirai) left, he
wrote to President Mugabe about the party’s position on the Zanu-PF draft
Constitution.

“President Mugabe must by now be making considerations on the submissions made by president Tsvangirai,” he said.

However, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said it was clear the MDC-T leader favoured foreign interests ahead of national issues.

“It is clear where the priority of the MDC-T president lies. He values his
spectator status in front of the mini drama of the Democratic Party than he
does issues to do with the future of his country

“His interest is always outward, it is never inward. There is also a
compelling reason for him to do so. He is going to assure the Americans
after the Freedom House survey, which projected him as a bad political
investment for the Americans,” he said.

Mr Charamba said it was baseless for MDC-T spokesperson Mr Mwonzora to
compare President Mugabe’s participation at the recent Non Aligned Movement Summit in Iran where 120 world leaders attended to Mr Tsvangirai’s attendance at a function of an American political party.

The source also said Zanu PF is trying very to isolate and corner Tsvangirai
in “dark corridors” and force him into agreeing Zanu PF amendments to the
Draft Constitution, a move this source said was bound to fail.

Over the years Zanu PF has always attended party functions of its foreign
allies.

In February this years Zanu-PF attended the 50th anniversary of the ruling
Botswana Democratic Party held in Gaborone with a strong delegation led by
Zanu-PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and both parties Zanu-PF and
Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC sent delegations to the ANC’s centenary this year.

Last week all ZANU-PF provincial chairpersons left the country for China for
a two-week “leadership training course”.

However, Political analyst in the State media, Dr Charity Manyeruke a Zanu
PF Commissariat described Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s decision as an insult
to the people of Zimbabwe.

Zanu PF chief political advisor and Politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo had no kind words for Mr Tsvangirai whom he described as a disgrace to the people whom he pretends to lead.

The party’s loyalists said it is high time Zimbabweans should be wary of the
Prime Minister’s behaviour as it has also emerged that he ignored the
principals meeting to go on a spending spree with his wife in the US to buy
goodies for his wedding set for next week.

Mr Tsvangirai was supposed to attend a routine principals meeting this
Monday to discuss a deadlock over the draft constitution among other
national issues.

That meeting was postponed because the premier was away.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party have already launched
campaign for a yes vote and he has accused President Robert Mugabe as
arrogant and accused him of misleading his Sadc counterparts into believing
that he was committed to the constitution-making process when in fact he was
not.

Addressing civic society leaders at his offices at Charter House in Harare,
Tsvangirai said the MDC-T was ready to launch a campaign for the adoption of the Copac draft constitution

He said despite Mugabe’s complaints to Sadc in Luanda, Angola, in June that
he was not happy with what he called the negotiators’ delaying tactics on
the constitution, it was him who had assumed that role to justify Zanu PF’s
push for an election under the old constitution.

“In Luanda, President Mugabe said the negotiators were dilly-dallying and we
should go for an election,” he said.

“Now that we have concluded, he is assuming the delaying tactics he was
accusing people of using, now that’s arrogance.”

Tsvangirai said his party would have softened its stance on the constitution
deadlock, but Zanu PF was making outrageous demands that were tantamount to “throwing the baby with the bath water”.

“The Sadc involvement is not on all processes, but on difficult issues. Zanu
PF wants to throw the baby with the bath water,” he said.

“Had they come with one or two issues, we would have opened up.

“As principals, I find it difficult to start discussing when Zanu PF is
bringing in things yet we were all part of the process.

“If Sadc says talk about one or two issues yes, but to reopen the whole
debate now is like opening a floodgate, you will never know when to stop.

“We will start our constitution campaign and we will campaign for a ‘Yes’
vote and we are not ashamed.”

He said the theme for the campaign would be: My Vote is My Voice and My Vote is Yes.

Tsvangirai said the exit from the coalition government was a free and fair
election, but vowed that he would not be rushed into an election that would
not be free and fair by Zanu PF.

“Zanu PF is dragging its feet, but we have a clear roadmap that we can’t
abandon now,” he said.

“In Kenya, evidence is there, the clouds of a storm are on the horizon
already and these experiences spell doom.

“We hope there will be no clouds of storm in Zimbabwe.”

He said people, including civic society and his party, were now in the
comfort zone forgetting to continue the fight for democratic change.

“There is a mercenary attitude now of people wanting to be paid for being in
the streets instead of a missionary attitude,” Tsvangirai said.

“People like (Macdonald) Lewanika (Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director)
now wear suits every day and even (Information Communication Technology
minister Nelson) Chamisa wears suits every day.

“The fighting spirit has gone and this is what should be addressed.”
Addressing hundreds of party members at Zimuto Siding business centre,
Masvingo North the MDC provincial chairperson Wilstaff Sitemere called for
unity of purpose and determination ahead of both the referendum and the
watershed polls, which he predicted that the MDC will emerge the victor.
Sitemere said the MDC would go for the “Yes” vote in the referendum despite
desperate efforts by Zanu PF to stall the whole process. “I wish to urge you
to focus on the referendum and our position as a party is very clear because
we are going to vote Yes,” said Chairperson Sitemere

“We say so because the Copac led Constitution making process was endorsed by all the GPA principals and therefore we will not tolerate political games and backsliding,” he said.

He added: “As the MDC, we support devolution because it decentralises
management and control of national resources thereby creating employment for all. There is need to decentralise matters of governance to the provinces
since it creates room for development at provincial level.

The chairperson said Masvingo province is blessed with minerals, wildlife
conservancies and vast sugar cane estates in the Lowveld –that is why the
MDC supports devolution. “In addition we support dual citizenship and we are
optimistic the new Constitution will address human rights issues.

“We are unhappy with the level of police brutality in the country and we
hope such matters will be addressed in the new Constitution. However, I urge
you to remain focused on the referendum.

“While we have seen a lot of improvement in terms of our living conditions
we should not be complacent because we have not yet achieved our chief goal of achieving real change,” he said.

Addressing a separate rally at Chinyika business centre in Gutu North on
Saturday, the MDC provincial vice chairperson Hon. Heya Shoko said the GPA was set up as a platform to pave way for fresh democratic elections and
should not be seen as the final destiny.

“We agree that the GPA has brought some respite for us since we were hard
pressed by social and economic meltdown before the formation of the
inclusive government. We should avoid the lame duck approach to political
affairs. We are not yet in full control of government issues. We need to
keep on pushing for total social and economic reforms.

“I have observed that people are now sitting back thinking the battle is
over. It’s not. We must know that it is never over until it is over. Let us
therefore avoid complacency ahead of the referendum and elections,” said
Hon. Shoko.

He added: “This is not the time for back biting and infighting because
internecine battles will demoralize us. We will definitely go for the
referendum and we will vote Yes”.

MDC provincial chairperson, Mai Judith Muzhavazhi echoed Hon. Shoko’s
statements adding: “I wish to urge women to stand up and participate in
these crucial processes”.

In attendance at the rally were the MDC provincial organising secretary,
Hon. Earnest Mudavanhu and Gutu Senator Empire Makamure.

(Source)

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, led by the notorious Jabulani Sibanda, have done ZANU PF’s bidding and rejected the draft Constitution.

Sibanda said his association would, ‘resist any attempts to foist foreign ideas on the people.’

But he didn’t just single out the MDC-T for criticism over the draft, he included everyone; Munyaradzi Mangwana (Zanu-PF), Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC-N). He blamed them all for ‘departing from what the people had said.’ He also went along with ZANU PF’s rhetoric of trying to make it a racial issue, saying ‘dual citizenship was an attempt by former colonisers to become local citizens so that they could re-claim farmland taken for resettlement.’

The fact that dual citizenship is not guaranteed in the constitution seems to be a point that he missed. This was one of the ‘parked’ issues that the constitution leaves up to parliament to decide.
He denied that ZANU PF had extensively amended the draft saying it had been ‘audited’.

Sibanda is well known for being one of ZANU PF’s violent henchmen. He was recently in Zaka where he threatened villagers with death if they continued supporting the MDC.

Recently there has been in-fighting in his war vets association, and one of the factions passed a vote of no confidence in Sibanda.

(Source)

Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has rejected calls by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to enshrine gay rights in a new constitution.

Mr Chinamasa told the BBC that gay rights could not be “smuggled” into the constitution because most Zimbabweans opposed it.

Earlier, Mr Tsvangirai told the BBC that gay rights were a “human right” that should be respected.

Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Chinamasa are from rival parties in a fractious coalition.

Their parties – the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF respectively – are drafting a new constitution, which will be put to a referendum ahead of elections next year.

Homosexual is currently illegal in Zimbabwe, as in most African countries where many people view gay rights as un-Christian and un-African.

Last year, Mr Tsvangirai said “the ancestors would turn in their graves” if gay rights became enshrined in a new constitution.

We all know what people said about gay rights – it’s a total no; an almost 100% no”

Patrick Chinamasa Justice minister

But Mr Tsvangirai signalled a shift in policy in an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme.

“It’s a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody,” Mr Tsvangirai said.

“To me, it’s a human right.”

In his reaction, Mr Chinamasa said Zimbabweans had firmly rejected gay rights when they were consulted on a new constitution during the government’s outreach programme.

“We all know what people said about gay rights – it’s a total no; an almost 100% no,” he told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.

Mr Chinamasa said Mr Tsvangirai made the comments for “propaganda” purposes, contradicting the position he had adopted in the cabinet.

“We can’t smuggle [into the constitution] the views of a prime minister who wants to please a certain audience basically, I suppose, to mobilise resources for his party.”

“I know personally he doesn’t believe it. He has said so many times in the cabinet,” Mr Chinamasa told Network Africa.

The election due next year will be the first since the MDC and Zanu-PF – led by President Robert Mugabe – formed a unity government after polls in 2008.

Those elections were marred by widespread violence and rigging, with Mr Tsvangirai boycotting a run-off vote.

The coalition – formed under pressure from regional leaders – has stabilised the country, but tension has been rising ahead of next year’s vote.

The two parties are yet to agree on political and security reforms to guarantee a free and fair poll.

(Source)

The Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) has booted out controversial army commander, Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba for participating as a Zanu (PF) technical advisor to the thematic committee on elections in the new constitution making process.

Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi, the other co-chairpersons representing Movement for Democratic Change led by Tsvangirai and MDC respectively confirmed that the overzealous army chief, who is on record as saying President Robert Mugabe should rule for ever, was kick-off last week.

“He has been fired. Nyikayaramba is a serving soldier and therefore cannot be a member of COPAC especially at an advisory level, “said Mwonzora.

Mkhosi said the issue of Nyikayaramba was now water under the bridge.

“He has left. It is now under the bridge,” he added.

Munyaradzi Mangwana, while confirming that he was no longer with COPAC, said Nyikayaramba’s contract had lapsed.

“His contract with COPAC has come to an end so he has left. It is wrong to say he has been booted out,” he said.

The two MDC formations have long raised concerns about his involvement in the constitution-making process since he was serving member of the army.

(Source)

Zimbabwe’s much-delayed drive to draw up a new constitution as part of a power-sharing deal has been suspended amid a row between the two main political parties, a party spokesman said Thursday.

The mammoth process of public consultations for a new constitution began in 2009, months after the deal between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but has been repeatedly disrupted and marred by violence.

The new delay was caused by disagreements between Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over the weight given to the public submissions, MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told AFP.

ZANU-PF favours ranking submissions according to the number of times they were raised during meetings to gather people’s views, he said. The MDC prefers an approach based on the quality of those submissions.

“ZANU-PF’s proposal is populist but it leads to the emasculation of voices in wards with less people than others,” Mwonzora said.

“Given that we had totally disagreed, we referred the matter to the management committee. The committee said the work should stop and they will give directions on the method to use,” he said.

The constitution committee had set September for a referendum on the draft constitution but the suspension is likely to cause a delay.

Public consultations over the constitution were repeatedly postponed after outbreaks of violence, with a Tsvangirai supporter killed when militant backers of Mugabe stoned a meeting in September 2010.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, and his long-time rival Tsvangirai formed the power-sharing government more than two years ago in a bid to stop a conflict sparked by disputed 2008 elections and to mend a shattered economy.

The agreement included plans for a new constitution and amended media and election laws to ensure free and fair polls.

Although no dates have been set for fresh polls, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have said elections should be held this year with or without a new constitution.

Tsvangirai and his MDC party want reforms in place first to ensure a level playing field before the elections.

(Source)

ZANU PF has admitted it embarked on a nationwide exercise to coach people on how to contribute in the constitutional making outreach programmes.

The party’s Legal Affairs department conducted a series of workshops to ensure its position on the new constitution sailed through so that it could “achieve an outright win in elections for a post-GPA (Global Political Agreement) government”, documents possessed by Radio VOP indicate.

According to the party’s central committee report to the party’s conference in Mutare between 15 and 18 December 2010, the ZANU PF legal guru Emmerson Mnangagwa said in his departmental report that the countrywide meetings were intended to ensure the ideals and values of the party were captured in the new supreme law of the land.

“The department held several workshops to devise a strategic plan for the constitution making process and to have a party position on each of the 17 themes among other issues. The series of workshops were attended by participants comprising lawyers, university lecturers, senior officers, members of parliament, provincial members, members from the party’s research team and pastors among others,” said Mnangagwa.

“The workshops were aimed at devising an implementable people-centred strategic plan to ensure that the values, ideals and founding principles of the party were permanently imprinted into the supreme law of the country.

“To that end the main objectives of the workshop were to evolve strategies to counter the neo-liberal threats that western sponsored political parties posed to the ideals and tenets of ZANU PF.”

It has also been revealed that the workshops were meant to articulate the main principles of the Kariba Draft constitution, devise multi-pronged media strategy to reach the general populace and to come up with coordinated campaign strategies targeting all organs of the party.

The revelations come at the back of threats by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) not to recognise a draft constitution currently on the cards whose process is alleged to be flawed and not reflective of the people’s views.

President Mugabe also said in his foreword to the central committee report that 80 percent of the views gathered during the parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) outreach exercise reflected a ZANU PF position.

“The conclusion of the COPAC outreach programme has sent a loud and clear message to the MDC and its merchants of confusion among our detractors who all along were doubtful of our party’s capacity to ably speak with and for the people of this country,” said the President.

“Now, there’s nobody who does not know that more than 80 percent of the views expressed and gathered during the outreach programme echoed and affirmed our ZANU PF views and positions on the content of the proposed new constitution for our country. What that has demonstrated is that, as the centre of governance, our party has formidable intellectual capacity for governing and running the country,” Mugabe boasted.

The constitution making process is currently in doubt as COPAC is grappling to raise about US$6 million to complete the drafting phase and probably come up with a document that will go to a referendum.

The constitution has been viewed by rival political parties as the basis for free and fair elections through addressing necessary electoral reforms, but the ZANU PF gathering in Mutare recommended elections to take place next year.

President Mugabe has in the past said polls will go ahead with or without a new constitution a move that has been criticised by the civic society saying the environment was not yet conducive and could result in bloodshed.

(Source)

The Third Session of Zimbabwe’s Seventh Parliament is set to bring in media reforms as outlined in the Global Political Agreement signed between Zimbabwe’s three main political parties in 2008. ZANU PF, MDC-T and the MDC signed the GPA ahead of the formation of the inclusive Government in February last year.

Opening the Third Session on Tuesday, President Mugabe said Parliament would debate the Media Practitioners’ Bill.

“A Media Practitioners’ Bill, which will repeal the part of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which deals with the registration of journalists and privacy issues,” he said.

The Bill is expected to change registration procedures, rather than repeal them, as had been earlier reported.

(Source)

At 11 am today, 22 women in a private home were arrested in Pumula, a suburb of Bulawayo.  They are currently being held at Pumula Police Station. Most of the arrested are members of WOZA who were discussing the constitutional reform process. As lawyers were unable to respond, WOZA National Coordinator, Jenni Williams called the Officer in Charge at Pumula, Assistant Inspector Chimani, and asked him why the members had been arrested. He professed no knowledge of the situation.

The meeting was a private meeting of members exempt under all public order laws. Please call Inspector Chimani on + 263 9 422907 or 422898 and ask him to stop harassing WOZA members. Also advise him that there is an ongoing constitutional reform process countrywide and that they should participate and allow others to participate freely.

A later report states:

Members Arrested Today Released Without Charge

The 22 women arrested in Pumula today have been released without being charged. As lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were unavailable to attend to the matter, WOZA National Coordinator, Jenni Williams, and Magodonga Mahlangu attended the police station and met with the Officer in Charge, Assistant Inspector Chimani. He advised that the members had already been released and apologised for arresting them, saying that the officers concerned did not realise that they were WOZA members.

WOZA would like to acknowledge the professionalism of Assistant Inspector Chimani but call on him and other police officers to stop the arbitrary arrest of Zimbabweans.

(Source: via Skype)