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Mnangagwa’s visit to China: the 'easy' way of doing business

By Blessing Vava Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa is currently in China on his first  visit outside Africa. Mnangagwa’s visit ...

Thursday, 6 September 2012

MDC-t a smaller ZANU PF in the making

The late UP President Bishop Abel Muzorewa
By Blessing Vava
Last week I had a rare privilege of having a discussion with one of the co-chairpersons of COPAC,  the energetic Doglous Mwonzora whose meticulous rise   in Zimbabwe’s political landscape deserves special mention in the county’s political history. A former member of the now defunct United Parties (UP)led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa. Mr Mwonzora is a founder member of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), and served the constitutional reform movement in various portfolios. At the NCA he worked very well, eloquently defending the position of the NCA, he spoke passionately about the need of having a people driven constitution  as he rightly believed that the process should not be led by politicians. In our interaction, the former NCA deputy chairperson  openly admitted that this was not the way to go, but because he was following his party position hence he had no choice.

Mugabe is a fountain of experience
-Tendai Biti
On the contrary, he has been widely quoted discrediting the process as not perfect, but insisting that the outcome will be better than the Lancaster House charter. However what incensed me was his counter-accusations against the NCA arguing that its giving ZANU PF an advantage. After the discussion, which obviously was dominated by Mwonzora I was left wondering how and why the NCA was now working with ZANU PF and giving it an advantage? Foolishly, Mwonzora’s sentiments are widely shared by many of his colleagues in the MDC-t who have gone on a diatribe against the NCA for its principled position with regards to the constitution making process.   Some ill-advised quarters have even gone  to the extent of saying NCA has joined ZANU PF, ah ah because ZANU PF is appearing to be against the COPAC Draft they helped craft.

 Further the arm-chair critics are also accusing the NCA for what they call favourable coverage from the state-media namely the Herald, ZimPaper’s StarFM and ZBC and hence they have declared that NCA has sold out and is now dining with the enemy.

Swearing allegiance to the Head of State
My other question is selling out to who? For the record the NCA has not joined any political party and will  never join one, worse ZANU PF, the NCAs position on the constitution has always been consistent. That the writing for a constitution should not be led by politicians but an independent commission. That is what the NCA said in 1999 at the peoples convention in Chitungwiza and other historical processes to follow, like the Zimbabwe Peoples Charter, lately the 2nd Constitutional Convention in 2009, where the NCA  re-affirmed that position. In that light the NCA  launched the Take Charge Campaign, which essentially was a declaration against Article 6 of the GPA which provided for a parliamentary driven process. In a typical show of lack of consistence the MDC-t invited the NCA, ZCTU, ZINASU leadership at the party headquarters to find a common ground on the constitution making process but later backtracked. In that meeting it was unanimously agreed that Article 6 fell short of a people driven process. A committee was then set-up drawing two representatives from the four organisations to come up with a critic against Article 6, the dossier was meant to aid MDC-t president to inform the other principals that the MDC-t was not going to continue participating in the COPAC process.

 Shockingly, after that meeting the MDC-t joined their ZANU PF colleagues and still continued participating in the COPAC process and again the NCA was labelled spoilers. The two parties' love for each other is well documented their bond strengthened like Siamese twins. They enjoyed the 45million  together in COPAC (the money they should account for), bought nice cars together in a show of unity as they are in a unity government and in doing all this they were all in agreement. No Zimbabwean will ever forget Mwonzora’s infamous statement, ‘’Even if I leave my pilsner beer with ZANU PF’s Paul Mangwana I will still come back and drink it.’’ ( they have been cases of beer poisoning) There he was simply implying that he trusts Mangwana and leaving his beer with him and still come back to drink it was a sign that Mangwana was a trustworthy comrade. I wonder if Mwonzora can still say or do the same now? Now that ZANU PF is showing its true colours and the romance seems to have ended the MDC-t is now pointing its dirty fingers to the NCA labelling them traitors. What hypocrisy. ZANU PF has never been a good ally, ask those who were in ZAPU.  MDC-t was invited to join government by ZANU PF and they graciously joined at a colourful ceremony at state house. All of them including Tsvangirai swore allegiance to the state, the constitution and the Head of State.  Every Monday they have teas with President Mugabe, he gives them assignments in cabinet, and some of the MDC-t leaders have been heaping praises to Mugabe and these people include the likes of Biti,  and even Tsvangirai lest they forget.  Biti said: “He is a fountain of experience, knowledge and, most importantly, a fountain of stability. There are a lot of horrible things that would have happened in this country if he had not said, ‘No’. History will prove the correctness of this statement. He has been the number one symbol of stability . . . Us, the younger generation, are lucky to have gone through his hands. “We find counsel and wisdom in him. His importance in this country will be seen once he is gone. When he is gone that is when you will see that this man was Zimbabwe. Some of us who came from different parties have had to learn a lot from the man.’’

So if there is anyone who has joined ZANU PF it is the MDC-t and not the NCA.We do not even know the door of the state house nor have we been  close to Mugabe except on television. Therefore we urge the MDC-t to first remove a log in their eyes before pointing at a speck in others eye. Regarding their Yes vote it is rather ambitious, immature and a case of jumping the gun. Why are they rushing to campaign for a yes vote for a draft which one of the parties is still contesting. This has been a negotiating game from the start and the MDC-t should finish what it started and its very much likely that Tsvangirai will give in to ZANU PF’s amendments as we have seen before. And the MDC-t’s argument that the draft is not perfect but they will write a good one once in power is parochial. They have openly admitted  that it’s not perfect why can’t they renegotiate to have a perfect document if they are really sincere. The NCA’s  (NO VOTE) has been about principle as it is against the process that was bad and led as well as dominated by politicians.  We will not be cowed and moved from our principled position. The MDC-t should concentrate on cleaning their own mess with their newly found Zanu-pf friends. In conclusion, it is now very difficult to differentiate the MDC-t from ZANU PF, they seem to have inherited everything, arrogance, corruption, dishonesty, lying, violence and intolerance to dissenting  voices. Zvazviri!

Blessing Vava is a blogger from  Chipinge and a member of the Take Charge Campaign Technical Committee. he can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.com

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

COPAC’s accounts must be audited

Principals to the GPA with SADC Facilitator President Zuma

By Blessing Vava
Last week South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma SADC appointed facilitator in the GPA, dispatched his facilitation team  among other issues  to break the so-called impasse in the constitution making process. But, specific to the issue of the constitution,  the so-called deadlock is as a result of ZANU PF’s sponsored amendments to the COPAC daft. This is despite the fact that its pool of negotiators appended their signatures on the 18th of July draft produced by COPAC. The COPAC final daft is a product of the management committee who also happen to be negotiators in Zimbabwe’s unending negotiations in the GPA. Interestingly, when the  management committee members appended their signatures and handed over the document  to their principals, what that meant was that their role has now been complete and it was now up to the principals to discuss and agree on the final document. In the same way the Kariba draft, and the GPA, were done, after the signatures of the negotiators it goes to the principals.

 As of  now I do not believe  that there is yet a deadlock to talk about until principals meet to discuss the document. The principals are the ones who assigned these negotiators and logically if you are sent with a message by your superior you have to relay back the message. That is what the management committee did. They came up with that document and handed it over to the principals meaning that it was now left to their principals to decide. However  this GNU has set a bad precedence. After a deadlock between negotiators, the principals come in. This has been the game in town.Three individuals now have the power to decide on the contents of a constitution which is to govern more than 14million Zimbabweans. This has been a bad process from the start and sadly  the country lost considerable time and resources to a process which is now seemingly a mere circus. They failed even to honor up to what they agreed in the GPA, and what guarantee do we as Zimbabweans have that they will respect the constitution they are writing should it be accepted in a referendum?
Nolonger see eye to eye-COPAC chairperson
 Paul Mangwana and Doglous Mwonzora

That has been the tragedy of allowing politicians to write a constitution. They will never do it in earnest, it is all about their power that is why no one is questioning  the blotting of the National Assembly for example at a time  many Zimbabweans have been complaining about a large government. And talking about MPs, I was left dump-founded after reading media reports alleging that members of parliament are demanding more money which they allege were their dues from COPAC, a complete fraud and scandal which should never be entertained. First and foremost the MPs should understand that the cars they were leasing and even driving during the outreach process were bought using tax payers money through the treasury and none of them paid a single cent for their purchase. To have such cars is a mere privilege and not a right our ignorant members of parliament should be reminded. Their levels of greediness is shocking and utterly disgusting.  This only shows that they participated in the COPAC process to make money and nothing else. With the high allowances they were getting everyday and hotel accommodation is sheer extravagance. Some of the MPs even abandoned their families to stay with their girlfriends in hotels despite some of them residing less than a 5km drive from the hotel. This is despite the fact that many Zimbabweans are earning salaries that hardly allow them to afford descent accommodation and transport fares to their work places. Under such circumstances, legislators should consider themselves fortunate to own cars.

Clearly the notion of being servants of the people is now alien it now appears that the people are now the servants of these politicians whose alarming rate of resource and wealth accumulation deserves a chapter in the Guinness Book of Records. Surely the 45million spent by COPAC was money wasted luxuriously  by politicians and their cronies and no one else. And as we move forward COPAC should be forced to account in detail for every cent used since the process started. These were resources sourced under the guise of writing a constitution for the country and as such they should be audited and the results be made public. We would want to know how much they used for their allowances, their hotel bills, and mark my words it wont be surprising that much of the money was for allowances and hotel accommodation. That being said, it is high time that the process being concluded to pave way for a referendum so that the people of Zimbabwe be given a chance to finally participate in rejecting the COPAC daft which they did not input.  We are tired of this political posturing,  Zimbabweans should now demand a referendum. Politicians, for far too long have been taking Zimbabweans for a ride.

Blessing Vava is a blogger from Chipinger. he can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.com