The Vigil welcomes the peaceful conclusion of the second Stakeholders’ Conference on the constitution – not because we think it achieved anything but because it took place without the feared violence and because it clears the way for the next hurdle in the Alice in Wonderland caucus race.
(Wikipedia definition of caucus race: a laborious but arbitrary and futile activity; an activity that amounts to running around in a circle, expending great energy but not accomplishing anything.)
Zimbabweans now rejoice in an expensive proposed new constitution which nobody wants. If constitution-making was ranked as a productive activity Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia before it) would be world leaders: constitutions for all occasions. We might even flog one to the UK which has managed all these years without one.
As far as the Vigil can see, a constitution matters only if there is the rule of law. And when did that last exist in Zimbabwe? And, anyway, Mugabe has made it clear the constitution will not be adopted until he is satisfied with it (at one stage he seemed to have co-opted Tsvangirai to this idea!).
So the fiasco moves to Parliament and then to a referendum, apparently in mid-January, costing $100,000,000 or so. Of course Zimbabwe has no money for this – that is unless the Mugabes, the Mujurus, the Mpofus, the Chombos etc care to contribute a few dollars from their stolen millions.
Mr Biti says we in the UK must pay. He says we are paying for Zimbabwe’s health and education (along with other donors) so we ‘have an obligation’ to pay for everything else (see: Biti turns to donors to fund referendum and elections – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/oct27_2012.html#Z3).
Biti’s logic is the sort that has made Zimbabwe the intellectual powerhouse it is today.
So here we will be in mid-January 2013 with a useless referendum on a useless constitution and the situation on the ground to all purposes unchanged – certainly no rule of law. And then Mugabe – coming up to his 90th year and popping with Singaporean monkey glands – can start campaigning for the elections he wants in March, leaving little time for the essential reforms agreed four years ago and still not implemented.
The Vigil thinks this is a recipe for disaster.
Elections any later – and some are talking of October – will provide an interesting backdrop for the UN’s tourism conference at the Victoria Falls next August. The odious tourism functionaries from all over the world will then get the chance to see some real Zimbabwean ‘wild life’.
The Vigil’s attention has been drawn by a correspondent, John Burke, to a ‘world travel market’ to be held in London in early November attended by tourism ministers from all over the world as well as Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), who helped launch the Victoria Falls proposal.
Mr Burke asks us for our opinion of it. Here it is:
‘The Zimbabwe Vigil believes our country is one of the most beautiful in the world and our friendly people welcome visitors from all over and would love to share our treasures with them. However the Vigil questions the UN’s decision to hold a world tourism conference at the Victoria Falls in August 2013.
Elections are due in Zimbabwe next year and in the past these have been undermined by violence. The Vigil has been calling for UN election monitors to be sent to Zimbabwe and we are pleased to see a statement that they are willing to do this (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/oct25_2012.html#Z4 – U N ready to dispatch election monitors).
The Vigil calls on the UNWTO to make its world tourism conference at the Victoria Falls dependent on the Zimbabwe government agreeing to accept UN election monitors’.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
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