Mugabe concedes PM's power

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday shamed hardliners in his Zanu PF party who have taken every opportunity to ridicule Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai by conceding that the two rivals share executive power.

In a speech pregnant with peace messages, Mugabe told the constitution-making process’ Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference opening ceremony that the principals to the power sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA) are the ultimate authority on the governance charter.

“The three of us wrote that thing you call the GPA. It is us also who said to our parliamentarians ‘you are all forced to vote for the GPA, is that democracy?’ It was an agreement that we forced them in unanimity, they voted in fear,” said the octogenarian Zimbabwean strongman.

“I am saying this because Parliament thinks that it is so sovereign, that it should control the actions of Principals, it’s not it. There are limitations, of course we cannot do everything, but we are the executive and we are the ones who caused the GPA and this process.

“We are the ones (including Mutambara) who rejected the Kariba Draft. Some have been questioning why we are interested in the constitution making process; because we are the ones who caused it. Mwonzora naMangwana wako mangamaakuvhaira and Mangwana you were getting carried away) sometimes people fail to see where power has been derived from,” said Mugabe.

Addressing the same gathering earlier, Tsvangirai said in as much as the Principals would exercise executive power over the constitution making process, Parliament would have the final say.

“We have agreed as Principals that this is a Parliament and people driven process in which we will exercise executive guidance. However, Parliament will have the final say. We have no intention, at least on my part, to temper with the views of the people. After all, the people will reserve their right to speak at the referendum,” said Tsvangirai.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who spoke first, said constitutions are made on the assumption that the governed do not trust the governors.

“The governed must never trust the rulers. That is a fundamental assumption in crafting of a constitution and we must put in this document safeguards to protect the people from leaders,” Mutambara said to rapturous applause.

Often accused of brutal repression during his 32-year-rule, Mugabe yesterday sounded a reconciliatory tone, calling for peace and describing violence as “primitive”.

Mugabe was addressing the opening plenary session of the second All-Stakeholders conference in Harare at which he referred to his arch-foe Tsvangirai as a “Zanu PF neighbour”.

“We sat down the three of us, some may call us an unholy trinity but sometimes we do also holy things. Did you ever think I would work with Tsvangirai? Or did he ever think he would work with me and that boy (Mutambara) used to abuse and throw stones at me during his days at the University of Zimbabwe.

“Now he is mature and honai gede-gede taatose matombo torohwa tiritose zvino (Now we are in it together and we are chastised together). Those are things that happen,” said Mugabe.

“As we embark on this very important process please exercise restraint, tolerance and work in harmony. Zimbabweans are praised the world over for our education and enlightenment in all disciplines. But all this comes crushing down when we think of violence.

Mugabe went biblical as he tried to reinforce his peace message telling the gathering: “Love thy neighbour.”

“If we are that learned, then surely violence is primitive and here I would like to speak to Zanu PF; Tsvangirai is your neighbour and to the MDC; Mugabe is your neighbour,” the 88-yeard-old Zanu PF leader said.

“Kana usisandide varipo vanondidawo (If you do not love me, no problem, there are some who love me), but there are those that will say why are you voting against this or that party. We do not want that. Let us shame our detractors who think Zimbabweans cannot resolve their differences without resorting to violence,” said Mugabe.

Tsvangirai also urged tolerance and peace in the run-up and during the elections next year.

“Be tolerant of each other’s views and after three and half years those who doubted and were sceptical of our resilience as a people; those that wished Armageddon on this country should stand ashamed,” he said.

“Today we are on the threshold of history as we mark an important milestone in the constitution making process and this importance should not be lost in the needless pursuit of narrow petty party interests,” he said.

The second All-Stakeholders conference meanwhile was marred after the MDC led by Industry minister Welshman Ncube staged a mini-boycott arguing his party would not share a podium with rival Mutambara.
At a hastily arranged press conference, Ncube said Mugabe was trying to “foist Mutambara on his party” in a desperate bid to collapse the constitution making process and the GPA.

“The MDC has lodged a formal complaint with the Sadc facilitator (South African President Jacob Zuma) and Sadc troika chairperson Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzanian leader) and we will be writing formal letters to them.
“However, we have resolved to participate in the thematic committees but not in any forum where Mutambara is a participant,” said Ncube.

Mugabe admits Tsvangirai’s power

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