Death To The Constitution-Making Process

A farmer in Chegutu walks past an armed man guarding a confiscated farm in the area. These men are not defence force members but have no problems with the law when they openly carry their weapons like this. It is things like this, constituting the subversion of the rule of law. The contemptuous attitude towards the coalition was displayed again yesterday by ZANU PF which adopted a draft constitution that has been rejected by civil society and disowned by the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, on at least two occasions since the formation of the Unity Government.

In a direct challenge to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and civil society, the ZANU PF Politburo, which met yesterday, has adopted the widely condemned Kariba Draft Constitution as the basis of any new constitution.

Morgan Tsvangirai said quite unequivocally on May 1 this year that the Kariba Draft Constitution would not be considered when the process of drafting a new constitution gets under way.

He gave the same assurance to the NCA when they met him at his Munhumutapa offices a couple of months back.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), led by Dr Lovemore Madhuku, as well as the MDC-T's traditional ally, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), have both said they are set against the Kariba Draft and will boycott any process that is based upon it.

This draft was put together in 2005 by MDC-T and ZANU PF negotiators during the process of talks leading up to the Coalition Government. Most people are still unaware that the Coalition Government had been agreed to by Mugabe and Tsvangirai prior to the March 29 elections.

Tsvangirai himself complained when Mugabe called the March elections in 2008, saying doing so was a breach of the spirit of the talks that had started in 2005.

Still, the real issue here is that Mugabe and his party have deliberately chosen to inflame the situation in the country by adopting the very draft constitution that the people fighting for a new constitution are against.

It is calculated to throw a spanner into works, for there is no way NCA and the ZCTU will agree to take part in the process now.

Which also weakens the position of the Prime Minister considerably since he will, no doubt, bow to the fait accompli and try to convince civil society to accept the Kariba Draft favoured by Mugabe.

ZANU PF want it that way.

During the meeting, it was clear Mugabe was upset by the decision of some donors to channel aid directly towards the constitution-making process, in terms of funding the consultation process and other logistical needs.

Mugabe sees this as continuation of the regime-change agenda.

In doing this, Mugabe thinks he is asserting his authority. This may well backfire, as the battle-hardened civil society groups gird up their loins and prepare for defiance.

Which will only drive Mugabe to be even more repressive in the way in which he deals with them.

Sanctions remain Mugabe's most prickly point. Without them removed, he is willing to let this coalition government go to rot. It is an indication of how deeply they get to him.

The Western nations, on the other hand, will most likely see this and strengthen the sanctions and travel bans, looking at it as the piling of more pressure on The Solution. The intended effect may be the opposite, with Mugabe deciding instead to strengthen his grip by openly freezing out the MDC-T in government.

By the way, the story below about the beating of WOZA protesters gets you thinking, doesn't it? And asking questions.

Such as:

Is this what the Prime Minister had in mind when he said the co-Ministers of Home Affairs were working "fantastically" well together. These are policemen under that very same ministry beating up peaceful protesters who are only demanding that Zimbabweans be given their dignity back.


  1. Ask Morgan what he really found out when he was on the trip to the US. The same Donald Payne who was promising “re-engagement” when he was in Zimbabwe had other plans all along. Most NGOs were linked to the previous administration and Donald was merely positioning himself as the new administration’s book keeper. All NGO money has to go through him now and Morgan will have to play ball with him! The only reason why Morgan was not totally disappointed is because he now has a chance to remove the shackles from certain “partners” he is accountable to since he now talks directly to the book keeper.

    I do not think there is anything wrong with calling for freedom rights. It is our right! I however do not think its right for any of us to participate in west’s retribution fight against Mugabe (be it in ignorance or willingly) in the name of Zimbabwean Rights! It is now clear those sanctions would not be removed until land reform is reversed….its a bit silly to be calling for those same sanctions knowing fully well who they will affect and why they are there! It does not make sense to put NRZ, Zimbank, POSB and Agribank (whatever they are called now) on sanctions.

    At least if you call for sanctions, don’t shed crocodile tears when people suffer. You would think all that energy would be used to try and remove Mugabe…. it is sad that we have all become pre-occupied and just trying to position ourselves as the next baas boy. That has dragged our situation for too long. How can the Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaim in front of Tsvangirai that she expects the new constitution to return back the land to white farmers? The new constitution should not be done while the country has sanctions against it. We can have sanctions against Mugabe etc but as long as those against Zimbabwean institutions exist, they should not. How does Biti even expects to privatize any parastatals…who is going to fund them while they are on sanctions lists? And where are aspiring leaders quiet about such discrepancies that are as fundamental to Zimbabwean existence as the rights we are calling for!

  2. @VaMutota: Welcome back, I was wondering what had become of you and Thoko. I was missing those spirited discussions of ideas!

    You are right, maintaining sanctions against Zimbabwe will not soften Mugabe. As I said before, to him it will only reinforce the view that he stands to gain nothing from compromise.

    Land to him (as Tsvangirai says he was shocked to find out at their first lunch at the Sheraton) is a crusade, just like the medieval christians had to the Holy Land.

    So, not only is he looking at it as compromising on a matter of principle, he also now must the face the truth that even such fundamental compromise will get him absolutely nothing.

    On the investments, again spot on: I know that there are airlines that think Air Zimbabwe, properly managed, would become a hub airline rivaling SAA in reach and effiency and even profitability.

    But who, as you ask, would invest in a company that is on the sanctions list?

    The only other way is to get aggressive, go after targeted companies that could be interested in investing in such parastatals. Remove the laws that are even open to misinterpretation when it comes to the security of investments in Zimbabwe.

    Anyway, you are spot on as usual and it is refreshing having such brains back on the blog!


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