It is fascinating to behold the way in which Zanu PF is attempting to block the draft constitution on the grounds that it contains “subversive material that will weaken the state of Zimbabwe and reverse empowerment programmes”.
The party envisages taking advantage of the second All-Stakeholders Conference to say “we didn’t say that,” according to the Sunday Mail.
In particular they believe the Copac document contains the hidden hand of secessionism and that the way is open for commercial farmers to reclaim their properties seized under the land reform programme.
There is clearly worry in Zanu PF circles about clauses that breach official secrets and security by barring the state from regulating the media. The document enshrines freedom of expression.
“The state shall not exercise control over or interfere with anyone engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or the dissemination of information by any medium, or penalise anyone for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast, publication or dissemination,” the draft says.
If the draft is passed the state would be compelled to promote public awareness of the constitution, something that would empower NGOs, hardliners feel.
There is also opposition to clauses which are “tailor-made” to disperse presidential powers by empowering parliament to invariably approve the appointment of senior government officials as well as security service organs.
“Political analysts” are quoted as criticising the architects of the draft for attempting to weaken the state. Further, these same analysts are uncomfortable with provisions that require the government to incorporate international conventions and treaties into national law. Foreign journalists would enjoy the same legal protection as local journalists.
‘There is an attack on the state by declaring that all information should be available to journalists,” the analysts lament. “There is no delimitation. One gets protection regardless by just stepping on to Zimbabwean soil.”
It is useful to have this on the record. Zanu PF clearly objects to a liberal constitution that extends basic freedoms to the people. Zimbabwe will not look like South Africa which adopted an inclusivist, law-based constitution in 1996.
It will, if they get their way, resemble the reactionary viewpoints of years gone by such as Amendment 7 which created the imperial presidency. There will be nothing enlightened or progressive about it. Zanu PF is even opposed to the promotion of the constitution if it is approved by voters.
So what is the point of the exercise if Zanu PF is hanging on to the standpoints that the nation wants to ditch? Zimbabwe’s citizens will be less free than before. The arrest of Munyaradzi Gwisai illustrates this point.
At the end of the outreach programme last year, they were congratulating themselves for having coached their followers to say things like “journalists who criticise the president should be hanged” and “only newspapers belonging to the government should be allowed to publish”. There was no understanding that a constitution should be an enlightened document that extends freedom to all.
“Dirty hands in refined draft,” the Sunday Mail headed its article last weekend. So here is a “public” media that tells its readers that constitutional reform is a bad thing on the spurious grounds that it doesn’t accommodate Zanu PF’s childish mantras on sovereignty.
On a lighter note, we were amused by Tafataona Mahoso’s complaint in his African Focus column that he couldn’t find a single book in Kingstons on sanctions. There were dozens of books from the Commonwealth and World Bank on such things as gender rights, he found in a snapshot survey, but nothing to explain how sanctions were allegedly disabling the nation.
“The donor books flooded our cities and schools when our publishers collapsed because of sanctions,” he complained in line with the official view. So what to do? Bring back the Zimdollar of course. That will solve everything!
Muckraker would like to encourage all those in Zanu PF who seek to exhume the discredited currency to continue their crusade. Nothing could be more calculated to direct voters towards the ballot box. The very thought of reviving the old currency will drive thousands to support the MDC-T which doesn’t appear to be doing much else to help its cause.
Here’s a way they don’t have to do anything except repeat that Zanu PF will revive the Zimdollar. That should finish them off.
ZBC reports that empowerment pressure groups have condemned the power struggles that have riddled Upfumi Kuvadiki and Affirmative Action Group, describing their actions as retrogressive to the indigenisation and empowerment programmes.
The two groups have been awash in the media “for all the wrong reasons” and recently members of Upfumi Kuvadiki were seen quarrelling over the issue of the outfit’s presidency.
Another empowerment “pressure group”, Zimbabwe Entrepreneurial Youth Action, fronted by a Munyaradzi Kashambe said the two groups should go back to their “core business” and resolve their power struggles amicably. According to ZBC’s analysts the power struggles and bickering that have riddled the two groups do not portray a positive picture to Zimbabweans.
We think the damage was already done a long time ago. According to the Herald Upfumi Kuvadiki came to prominence last year when it temporarily disrupted parking business by EasiPark that led to a demonstration that resulted in looting and destruction of property at the Gulf complex.
As if that was not enough a press conference organised by a faction of Upfumi Kuvadiki, last week, descended into chaos as rival factions created a ruckus at the Harare Club in the capital.
SW Radio Africa reports that the heated exchange of words in front of journalists soon gave way to scuffles between the supporters of rival factions led by Alson Darikayi, its former spokesman and now president, and Tatenda Maroodza the secretary-general.
The outfit has threatened to take over Easipark, a joint venture between a South African company and the City of Harare because it was fronted by foreigners. Darikayi said the youth empowerment group had agreed to form a company called Nehanda Parking. Ironically, Darikayi accuses Maroodza of having clandestinely registered the company with funding from South African partners.
Not surprisingly the police just stood by and did nothing as the chaos ensued.
“Maroodza’s group came in and climbed on chairs and tables. They tore down posters that had (President) Mugabe’s picture from the walls and disrupted the press conference. But surprisingly no-one was arrested despite the police being stationed less than 20 metres away,” reports SW Radio Africa.
Another example of Zanu PF’s approach to democratic reform could be found in a front-page article in The Zimbabwean where Tendai Savanhu declared he would “eliminate whites in Marondera within a week”. MP Iain Kay would be a case for special treatment, Savanhu declared menacingly at a funeral in Marondera.
Savanhu was defeated by the MDC’s Piniel Denga in Mbare in 2008. Now he wants to make a comeback. Whites had no role to play in Zimbabwean society, Savanhu declared.
“What is the so-called white MDC legislator Iain Kay doing in the community?” Savanhu asked. “As Zanu PF we don’t recognise him and his councillors. Zanu PF (candidate) Peter Murirwa is the legitimate MP for Marondera Central, not Kay.
“Please allow me and Chipangano Youth a week’s stay here and we will eliminate Kay without any problem. Down with whites.”
Is this the same Tendai Savanhu who vigorously denied any connection to Chipangano when interviewed by the Zimbabwe Independent last year? Has he changed his mind? Or just decided to tell the truth?
His statement is a useful declaration of Zanu PF’s crude racism. Not a single voice was raised in criticism of Savanhu’s statement.
“We do not recognise Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister,” he said. “I would want to reiterate that whites should disappear from the political landscape.” Sounds like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
So Savanhu won’t recognise Iain Kay’s victory in 2008. And he pledges to use force to change the outcome. All whites in Marondera will be purged. Presumably including those who didn’t vote? His threats against the white community should be cut out of The Zimbabwean and sent to friends and relatives in the United States and Europe.
The US ambassador said recently he wasn’t a supporter of sanctions. And a Zimbabwean “re-engagement” team will soon be on its way to Europe to seek the lifting of sanctions. Let’s hope the supremely accommodating Aldo dell’Ariccia has also alerted his colleagues in Brussels to this latest statement of policy by Zanu PF.
Quite clearly Savanhu hasn’t heard the expression “sour grapes”. He lost. He’s a loser. In fact he’s a sore loser. And now he has shown us he’s a coward as well. Zimbabwe Independent