We won't fail, says Matinenga

HARARE - Zimbabwe's political players are determined to find common ground and resolve contentious issues, Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga said this week.

Following a meeting of a special committee set up by the Global Political Agreement (GPA) Principals President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry minister Welshman Ncube, Matinenga declared the constitution-making process will not collapse.

“All parties are in agreement that this process must not be allowed to collapse. Tinonyarirepi (how will we handle the shame) after all we have gone through. I can assure you we will find a way out of this situation,” Matinenga said.

He said the committee had agreed on some issues but there were still disagreements on others.

“We are just coming out of a meeting and I can tell you that we have agreed on some of the contentious issues but still there are disagreements on the others.

“The negotiators are going back to their respective Principals for further consultations,” said Matinenga without elaborating.

 “A final paper of what has been agreed and what is still to be negotiated will be available soon and at the moment, I am not in a position to tell you the specifics,” he said.

“I am looking at maybe two weeks to reconvene the committee because it is most likely going to take a bit more time than necessary because of the holidays. Most of the institutions in the political parties that have to be consulted are on holiday,” he said.

The special committee was set up by the GPA Principals from the constitution select committee (Copac) management committee, to unlock the deadlock over the new draft constitution.

Disagreements arose in the aftermath of the second All-Stakeholders conference at which divergent views emerged with contentions on how to proceed.

Now referred to as the July 18 draft constitution, Zimbabwe’s constitution-making process has been beset by constant bickering and heckling with Zanu PF accused by its coalition partners of stalling progress.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have meanwhile placed a gag order on their negotiating officials with all of them refusing to comment on the negotiations so far.

Matinenga said the gag order was meant to depoliticise the constitution-making process.

“There are fears that if we allow these political players to speak on this process, it will be politicised and they will parrot their political ideologies ahead of national interests,” said Matinenga.

The latest developments mean Zimbabwe’s much-anticipated elections in 2013 may after all not be held in March as demanded by Zanu PF.

As part of its wish list, Mugabe’s party resolved at its 13th annual pilgrimage in Gweru early this month that the octogenarian strongman should dissolve Parliament if there was no agreed draft by Christmas.

Comments (1)

Here is an administration which was tasked in 2008 to implement a number of agreed democratic reforms and to write a new democratic constitution so that Zimbabwe can have free and fair elections whose result will be a true reflection of the democratic will of the people. Four and half years later, not even one of the reforms has been implemented and only the very naive believe any will be implement before the next elections. In four years and at a cost of nearly US$100 million they produced a Copac draft constitution so weak it will not guarantee anything much less the right to free and fair elections. After all that Matinenga has the audacity to tell Zimbabweans "We won’t fail!" What is he blubbering about; this is a failed and totally dysfunctional GNU that has achieved nothing ever since it was set up.

W Mukori - 31 December 2012

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