'Mugabe will never align laws to new Constitution'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe will not align subsidiary legislation to the new Constitution because that will be tantamount to reforming himself out of power, a former Cabinet minister has said.

Paul Mangwana — co-chairperson of the parliamentary committee that drove the constitutional reforms representing Mugabe’s Zanu PF party —  told the Sapes Trust organised post-liberation Southern Africa programme conference on Zimbabwe in Transition: Reform and Reconstruction, that constitutional reform was only possible if those who stand to benefit from it push hard.

“The time it takes to align the Constitution depends on who is negatively affected by the process and who wants positive change,” Mangwana said.

“The Constitution takes away some powers from the Executive and you would not expect someone whose powers are set to be taken to take the first step towards reform.”

Mangwana was responding to a host of speakers including former Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga; a senior researcher at the  Institute for Security Studies, Derek Matyszak, and MDC Harare West MP Jessie Majome among others who had decried the lack of movement on constitutional reform since 2013.

Nearly 95 percent of voters in a 2013 referendum approved the new charter, which was backed by Mugabe and then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, political rivals who were forced into a power-sharing deal after disputed elections in 2008.

Presidential powers, including the right to make senior appointments in government and the military, have been significantly curtailed in the new charter.

Presidential decrees will also require majority backing in the Cabinet, and declaring emergency rule or dissolving Parliament will need the approval of two-thirds of lawmakers, changes that will take effect after the next election.

Mangwana said those pushing for alignment of laws to the new Constitution were “electoral cowards” because “they are now literally saying put in place electoral reforms that will ensure that you lose and we win and we are saying no.”

“That will never happen anyway in a modern constitutional democracy that a political party that is coming to government on the back of a new negotiated Constitution, on the back of a new negotiated Electoral Act, to then come up with reforms intended to reform itself out of power.

“The reforms they are talking about are a clear code to say, come up with laws that will ensure that you are out. That will not happen because it is inherently unreasonable,” Mangwana said in brutally honest remarks.

He further blamed opposition MPs and civic organisations for not doing enough to ensure the actualisation of the new Constitution.

Comments (2)

There's a part in the documentary Mugabe and the Democrats where these Zanuoids threatened Mangwana's life as the constitution negotiator when the age clause was proposed. Felt really sorry for the fella. ZANU will never enact any laws for us. It's always about their bottom line. What a bunch of blood sucking goblins. Cry the beloved country

Moe Syslack - 30 June 2017

A fairly honest man.The recent amendment to the constitution on matters concerning the appointments of the Chief Justice and his deputy is illustrative of this supreme arrogance of the ruling party.In fact,the mutilation of this new national charter has begun in earnest.

Gen Spinola - 30 June 2017

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