Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for March, 2009

Timeline for a new Constitution and fresh elections

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Saturday, March 28th, 2009 by Amanda Atwood

The Global Political Agreement signed in September last year makes it very clear that it is a framework for a transitional government. However, Zimbabweans are not vigilant, we run the risk that our interim government will become our government for the next five years or more.

Someone recently sent us a very useful list of the steps detailed in the GPA that will lead to a new Constitution, to be followed by fresh elections to be held according to the terms described in that Constitution.  They also sent a timeline of when those steps should be taken, given the number of months the GPA provided for the various tasks.

The first step is that a select committee – to work on the Constitution – should be set up by 11 April. That’s just three weeks away. Play your part in ensuring Zimbabwe moves towards a people-driven Constitution and a democratically elected and established government. Put pressure on your representatives, and the heads of all three political formations who signed the GPA, to make sure they follow the timeline.

The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (“JOMIC”) has been established to “ensure full and proper implementation of the letter and spirit of“ the Global Political Agreement. If you have any concerns about the implementation of the agreement, or the government’s adherence to the timeline for drafting a new Constitution, report your concerns to JOMIC. You can reach JOMIC rotating Chairperson Welshman Ncube on Tel +263 4 252782-3/94-5/846, Fax +263 4 736300 email: wncube@africaonline.co.zw  and cc to funsthole@yahoo.com

Steps towards a new Constitution

  1. Select Committee be set up within two months of inception of a new government;
  2. The convening of the first All Stakeholders Conference shall be within 3 months of the date of the appointment of the Select Committee;
  3. The public consultation process shall be completed no later than 4 months of the date of the first All Stakeholders Conference;
  4. The draft Constitution shall be tabled within 3 months of completion of the public consultation process to a second All Stakeholders Conference;
  5. The draft Constitution and the accompanying Report shall be tabled before Parliament within 1 month of the second All Stakeholders Conference;
  6. The draft Constitution and the accompanying Report shall be debated in Parliament and the debate conceded within one month;
  7. The draft Constitution emerging from Parliament shall be gazetted before the holding of a referendum;
  8. A referendum on the new draft Constitution shall be held within 3 months of the conclusion of the debate’
  9. In the event of the draft Constitution being approved in the referendum it shall be gazetted within 1 month of the date of the referendum; and
  10. The draft Constitution shall be introduced in Parliament no later than 1 month after the expiration of the period of 30 days from the date of its gazetting.

New election date then to be decided upon according to new Constitution.

Timeline for a new Constitution

Maximum 20 month process – Taking the number of months stated in the GPA and using the maximum time limits as the guide to building the calendar.

11 Feb – New Government
11 April – Select Committee to be set up
11 July – Convening of the first All Stakeholders Conference
11 Nov  – Public consultation process completed
11 Feb 2010 – Draft Constitution to be tabled
11 March – Draft Constitution and the accompanying Report tabled before Parliament
11 April – Draft Constitution and the accompanying Report debated in Parliament
18 April – Draft Constitution emerging from Parliament shall be gazetted
18 July – Referendum on the new draft Constitution
18 Aug – If draft Constitution approved in the referendum it shall be gazetted
18 September – Draft Constitution introduced in Parliament

New election date then to be decided upon.

A new kind of politics

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Saturday, March 28th, 2009 by Dewa Mavhinga

I have had a small privilege of living in, and closely observing the politics of a number of countries outside Zimbabwe. It is that exposure that brings me to my present reflections on Zimbabwean politics. Having been born and bred in Zimbabwe, where politicians are literally worshipped and elevated to  levels of sanctimony and divinity, l was pleasantly surprised to observe that in some jurisdictions politicians are treated as (and actually behave like) ordinary people. I believe Zimbabwe needs a new kind of politics. I present this appeal to MDC to bring a breath of fresh air on the national political scene and break free of ZANU-PF politics that have characterized Zimbabwe for the past three decades. The following could points for MDC leaders to reflect on:

Political leaders must be accessible to the people. In order to effectively represent the people, the leader must ensure that people have clear ways of reaching him or her with their problems. The culture we had become accustomed to in the past 30 years is of leaders who only become visible and accessible during election time but quickly vanish once they have gotten the vote. MDC leaders must take care not to make this mistake of taking the electorate for granted. Some political leaders make the common mistake of thinking that forever pretending to be busy enhances one’s importance in the eyes of the community and that accessibility makes one too common. Of what use is a leader who is not available to deal with the problems and concerns of the electorate?

A belief widely held is that perhaps the quickest way to riches is via politics. Instead of serving the people, the preoccupation is accumulation of wealth through abuse of political office. In 2005, the then ZANU-PF provincial Chairman for Mashonaland West, Philip Chiyangwa is reported to have said, “Do you want to get rich? Then join ZANU-PF.” For many MDC leaders, due to the obvious vulnerability arising from rather unfortunate financial circumstances, keeping on the high ground may prove to be a challenge of note. It is encouraging and worth celebrating, if true, that MDC Senator David Coltart did not accept the government ministerial Mercedes Benz car offered to him. To refuse the conventional ‘symbol of power’ is indeed a symbol of principle. It sends a powerful message that one is not in a position of leadership for the financial benefits that may come with it. Our political leaders are urged to learn the virtues of a simple life of selfless service to truth and justice.

MDC leaders have a challenge to demonstrate that it is possible to be a politician and an honest person at the same time. After decades of being taken for granted, being lied to and a litany of broken promises, the people of Zimbabwe, l believe, are looking for honest political leaders who deliver on their promises. Politics is not about making promises that one cannot deliver; it is about being honest, truthful and frank about the situation. An anecdote is often told of a politician who believed that politics was all about making promises, no matter how irrelevant to the circumstances. At one rally the politician promised to build a bridge for the community. When it was pointed out that there is no river in the area he went on to promise to build a river first! In the same vein of keep promises, l ought to mention it here that there is a tendency in Zimbabwe for people generally and political leaders particularly, not to value time. Almost invariably, my meetings with political leaders in Zimbabwe tend to be well after time of appointment. And yet this does not seem to bother them. This attitude of not placing value on time at present permeates most government departments. People wait for hours to be served, not because there is a reason for the delay, but simply because people have become accustomed to that casual approach to work and time.

For those who learnt their politics at the feet of ZANU-PF, humility is anathema. For them the mark of leadership is arrogance and aloofness. Without humility it is impossible to accept criticism as a legitimate and essential aspect of democracy. Within ZANU-PF no criticism is tolerated. Those who sought to criticize the leadership soon discovered that there was a high price to pay. Edgar Tekere, Eddison Zvobgo, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Jonathan Moyo are but examples of people victimized merely for criticizing ZANU-PF. The war mentality that views criticism as betrayal must be eradicated. We must feel free to openly disagree and criticize our political leaders without feeling that we have instantly become enemies or that we need to look over the shoulder all the time as a result. Many of those still practicing the politics of yesteryear have become completely cut off from the people and have, as a result, lost the common touch. I remember, at the height of the cholera crisis, l engaged in animated debate with a colleague over whether President Robert Mugabe, ensconced at State House, really had any idea what ordinary people were going through in their daily lives. We wait to find out if our erstwhile colleagues in MDC will keep the communication lines open to listen and engage. Some political leaders have perfected the art of pretense; of listening without really listening. Such an art has no place when leaders see it is as their duty to genuinely engage with the people. Only when politicians begin to genuinely listen to the electorate can they begin to look beyond their personal interests to those of the community at large.

Political leaders ought always to use the kind of language that promotes national healing and nation building. Surely we have had enough of the kind of venomous verbiage that Nathaniel Manheru spewed and splattered every Saturday. Even political slogans of chanting, ‘Down with so and so!’ should be a thing of the past.

The MDC must quickly move to enhance genuine participation of women in reconstruction, national healing and nation building and move away from the ZANU-PF approach of mere tokenism. If one considers ZANU-PF’s national heroes as a measure of participation in national political life, one would note that of the 75 people today buried at the National Heroes Acre Shrine, only 4 are women (Sally Mugabe, Julia Zvobgo, Ruth Chinamano and Mama MaFuyana Nkomo). And all these 4 women are there primarily as spouses. There is need to alter the political terrain and environment and make it conducive for women’s unfettered participation. One way of achieving this is to physical political violence as well as use of violent and uncouth language in politics. Women need not be thick-skinned first before they can venture into political life. It must not be a calling with a high price to pay for women simply because they are women.

If our leaders hold dear to all these values then in no time the whole nation will be seized with this new attitude fueled by the fervent pursuit of a new kind of politics. Like ripples, the waves of goodwill will gently spread to every nook and cranny of the country. To my mind, this of change of mindset, among other things, may be just the needed catalyst to prompt Zimbabwe, like the legendary phoenix, to rise from the ashes to become yet again the paradise of Africa.

Mutambara speaks out

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Friday, March 27th, 2009 by Bev Clark

Here are some excerpts from Arthur Mutambara’s, deputy prime minister in Zimbabwe’s inclusive government, maiden Parliamentary speech.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government that I am part of, this inclusive institution, is a creature of abnormal circumstances. We are a product of the SADC dialogue process. But why did we have to negotiate? Honorable Members, lest we forget, we were forced to talk to each other in this manner because we had some problems with our elections, to put it politely. If we are to be candid and brazen about it, we have to accept that we had fraudulent elections on March 29th 2008. What is worse is that the run-off Presidential election on June 27th 2008 was a complete farce, a nullity.


Mr Speaker, Sir, we must paraphrase Kennedy and say “Ask not what other nations can do to salvage Zimbabwe, but rather what we can do as citizens to drive our country.” The primary financing of STERP, our recovery plan must come from us through improving exports, increasing capacity utilization, economic growth, revenue generation, increased trade and then collection of taxes and tariffs. Domestic investment, including Diaspora efforts, should lead and drive foreign direct investment. Yes we need humanitarian assistance, budget support, and balance of payment support; but these external inputs should only come in to buttress our own efforts.


Mr Speaker, Sir, this brings me to the thorny issue of sanctions.  It is my considered view there are two types of sanctions. There are sanctions we impose on ourselves and those imposed on us by others. For the past 10 years Zimbabweans have been imposing sanctions on themselves through corruption, poor governance, incompetence, mismanagement, fraudulent elections, political violence, and the breakdown of the rule of law. Before we even begin to ask others to remove whatever measures they have imposed on us, we must remove these sanctions we have imposed on ourselves.


As I am speaking right now, there are fresh farm invasions, abductions, illegal arrests, disregard of court orders, wanton violation of the rule of law, violence among our supporters, the language of hate and division, and general disregard of the rule of law. To add insult to injury, there are unresolved outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA. The matters involving provincial governors, permanent secretaries, ambassadors, and the appointments of the RBZ governor and the attorney general have not been resolved nearly two months after SADC communiqué of the 27th of January 2009, which consummated the GPA. This is disgraceful. All these nefarious activities mean that the current inclusive government is actually imposing new sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe.


I am the Deputy Prime of the State of Zimbabwe. My government is guilty as charged. We are behaving as an irresponsible and rogue regime. We must address these matters urgently. We have an obligation to build credibility of, and confidence in this inclusive government. If we do not, we will then not have any moral authority to ask any nation to remove any measures imposed on us.


We are saying to the international community we understand why you imposed sanctions on us, and why you have not removed them. We understand your skepticism. However, we are also saying we are clear on the challenges we are facing and the transgressions that we are committing. We are determined to solve these matters. As they say a problem realized is half solved. We believe these challenges are not insurmountable, they are teething problems. We are determined to overcome them. We are working day and night. As we do this, please help us help ourselves. Here is our message to the US, the British, and the Europeans; you must remove all sanctions, any type of measures, call it what you may, that you have imposed on our country. You cannot adopt a wait and see attitude. You cannot give us conditions, such as signs of progress, inclusiveness and entrenchment of democracy and the rule of law. While these are also our targets, to achieve them we need financial resources and assistance. It is not possible for us to achieve these milestones while sanctions are in place.


We need to rethink our understanding of leadership, institutions, governance and their respective roles. We need to embrace transformational and servant leadership styles. Leadership is about making others leaders. It is about creating leaders, and not followers. Leaders should seek to serve, and not to be served. The ultimate test of leadership is whether you can effectively make yourself irrelevant, by empowering others.

Four months and counting

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Amanda Atwood

We have all breathed a collective sigh of relief over the past few weeks as Jestina Mukoko, Roy Bennett, and dozens of other pro-democracy workers have been released from custody after weeks or months inside.

But as this SW Radio story reminded me, several activists remain inside and must not be forgotten. Due to stand trial only at the end of June, seven MDC activists are facing terrorism charges, and are still in custody – as they have been since December last year.

Stoking violence on farms

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Bev Clark

This citizen report has just come in via email from a Zimbabwean living in the Lowveld. He shares information about intimidation and harassment on farms in the south of our country.

After being away for some time Digby and Jess Nesbitt returned home to find that their house had been looted by Deputy Police Commissioner Veterai. They spent the day trying to put the house back in order and removed Veterai’s possessions. That evening Veterai returned and he got his hired thugs to beat up the Nesbitts remaining staff with knobkierries shouting that Veterai was the owner of the house now and that everybody had to leave.

Veterai always  confronts Digby or Jess whilst carrying an AK assault rife and a pistol on his hip, this no doubt to intimidate them. They have reported these criminal acts to the police in Chiredzi, but it is unlikely that they will act against the Deputy Police Commissioner of Zimbabwe.

Liquidate Zanu PF’s assets

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Bev Clark

Rejoice Ngwenya writing for AfricanLiberty.org says aid will cripple Zimbabwe and suggests some alternatives.

First, we should disabuse ourselves of the cap-in-hand mentality. The poisoned chalice is the bloated GNU predisposition towards recurrent expenditure, which really is the second point – reducing the size of Government.

Thirdly, we can restore the viability of the banking sector by getting them to re-capitalise via offshore, not ODA financing.

Fourthly, Zimbabwe is sitting on a wealth of public property that can be liquidated to raise working capital for infrastructure reconstruction.

Fifth, almost thirty years of plunder and state-assisted pillaging have stashed billions of foreign currency in tax havens and discrete foreign accounts. If that money can be repatriated, it will be sufficient to sustain us until our entire productive capacity has been restored.