Mugabe Opens Parliament, Finally - Talks Nonsense
Robert "The Solution" Mugabe today finally opened parliament with the effects of his recent Botox treatment very much in evidence, looking chubby about the cheeks and healthy. His speech was largely a load of nonsense, except for the revelation that the Constitution-making process will now be controlled not by parliament, but the Inclusive Government itself. It is sleight of hand move that few people even realise is happening.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 06 October 2009
After giving the legislature the run around since mid-September, saying he was too busy to officially open parliament, Robert "The Solution" Mugabe finally opened Parliament a few moments ago here in Harare.
The Service Chiefs and Defence Forces commanders were out in full force, standing to Mugabe's right throughout the address as he sat in the Speaker's Chair.
Morgan Tsvangirai attended the opening for the first time, sitting with the President of the Senate, Edna Madzongwe, Didymus Mutasa (who said only last week that white farmers "will be beaten"), Sydney Sekeramayi and Webster Shamu, the Minister who made all those shocking appointments of Brigadier Generals to media Commissions and Boards of Directors.
Mugabe's speech was fairly uneventful, except that he revealed for the first time in public today that the Constitution-making process is no longer controlled by the Parliamentary Select Committee.
Two negotiators from each party to the Inclusive Government (the people who brought you the infamous Kariba Draft) have been injected into the process.
Mugabe says there are there for "formulating the policy direction of the Select Committee."
What this means is that it is these new members of the process who will decide the policy of the constitution-making process.
Their brief is to ensure that parliament does not deviate from the Inclusive Government's Policy of using the Kariba Draft as the basis for the drafting of a new constitution. As the people who signed the Kariba Draft, they are, the Government thinks, best placed to ensure that no "foreign agendas" enter the process.
It means the process is now no longer controlled by parliament, but directly by the government.
It is a step backwards, far removed from the insistence by civil society that the process should be people-driven.
Yet having agreed to this travesty, the MDC Tsvangirai is dishonestly going about the country shouting about a people-driven constitution.
If they wanted a process driven by the people, they should not have agreed with ZANU PF to put in the negotiators to decide the policy of the process.
As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, the MDC Tsvangirai is going to assent to ZANU PF's demands and end up using the Kariba Draft as the basis of a new constitution. They have already indicated this by putting in negotiators to essentially head the process.
Despite ACR winning the diamond mining rights case at the courts recently, Mugabe also announced that two investors have been identified for the mining of the diamonds at Chiadzwa.
Instead of simply respecting the court's decision, Mugabe instead announced today that the Inclusive Government will soon introduce a law in parliament to "reform the Exclusive Prospecting Order Process".
It means they will bring in a new law to make the court's ruling null and void, basically.
On the same subject, Mugabe reiterated today that the requirement for local ownership in the mining sector will also be strengthened.
We also heard from him the tired old sayings about reforming the government-owned companies through partial privatisation. He has speaking about this for years and there is no reason to think that it is about to change now. It is a patronage vehicle that both the MDCs and ZANU PF favour in order to buy loyalty from their constituencies. So, do not expect any of these promises to be fulfilled.
On the various commissions, such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Human Rights Commission, Mugabe only vaguely referred to them as "progressing well" and "imminent".
There really was nothing of substance in this speech today.
But at least parliament is now officially opened.
Let the greed and corruption begin.