Another Sunday - and another week since
my last posting. It really does appear that I will be posting once a week on
Sundays for the foreseeable future.
I continue with the foundation part of
my university degree, but this week I was asked by the university to confirm my
postal address so that they can send the text books for the degree study proper
which is due to start on 19 February.
I am rather looking forward to it.
I would have posted better pictures than just this one,
but Blogger seems to have ideas of its own and
rotates all the photographs to portrait! Grrr!
I have managed to upload a photo that is not in portrait - only by uploading it to PhotoBucket, rotating it, saving it and then downloading it - only to upload it right to Blogger... Oh well...
We have had about 7 inches of snow here
and it remains cold, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable. We have had
horrible nasty kids throwing snowballs at the front of the houses along our
street. Two night ago you would have laughed at their faces when, having thrown
their ammunition, the door opened and there stood a tall, large, hairy man… me!
They took off rather smartly!
Much as I would like to say
that this is progress, I very much doubt it. Coming to any agreement with
Mugabe means nothing, because when it comes time for him stand up to his part
of the deal, he bailks from it, turns his back on it and fails to be the man of
his word or signature.
President Robert Mugabe and his main rival agreed on the shape of
a new constitution in a deal that appears to reduce some of the broad powers Mr
Mugabe has wielded as president and paves the way for elections this year.
Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai - Mr Mugabe's long time political
rival and the prime minister in Zimbabwe's uneasy ruling coalition - agreed on
the outlines of the constitution after four years of bickering over its
contents. The constitutional negotiations, required by a bloc of regional states
following Zimbabwe's violent and inconclusive elections in
2008, had broken down over disagreements on more than 30 clauses, including
those tempering presidential powers.
The agreements appear to be a major concession by Mr. Mugabe, who
has ruled the country with an increasing consolidation of power since
independence from Britain in 1980, with few judicial checks and
the power to declare war and dissolve parliament. As part of the deal, Mr.
Mugabe agreed to have some powers of the office stripped, Constitutional
Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said Friday.
Mr Matinenga didn't fully detail the proposed reduction in
presidential powers. But he said the new constitution introduces a constitutional court and outlines an independent national prosecuting authority. Under the document, the president won't have power to dissolve parliament, a body that will be able to revoke the president's declaration of war, he said.
The constitution would also set term limits for the chiefs of the
army, police and intelligence services, posts that are currently held by Mugabe loyalists, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
The document must now be passed on to a parliamentary drafting
committee, which must incorporate the agreements into a consolidated draft. A referendum on the charter could be held as early as April, a grouping of human-rights organizations, the Crisis Coalition, said Friday.
Human-rights officials were cautiously optimistic. Mr. Mugabe
could be eager to burnish his legacy after turning from a hero of the independence war to a widely loathed leader, said Pedzisai Ruhanya, director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, a pro-democracy organization.
"He is old," said Mr. Ruhanya. "This could be an
attempt to rescue his image, because he doesn't want to be remembered for a history of
Still, he said, history has provided cause for skepticism.
"We have seen agreements being disregarded in the past,"
Mr. Ruhanya added. "Zimbabwe's problem is not really about a bad
constitution or bad laws. We can have a perfect constitution, but the question
is to what extent has.. Mugabe and his party committed to the rule of law and
respecting the charter governing the country."
Mr Mugabe has expressed surprise at such allegations. "We
brought the rule of law," he has said, referring to his leading role in ending colonial
Mr Mugabe's five-year term presiding over Zimbabwe's coalition government officially ends in June. The former guerrilla leader, who turns 89 next month, has already said he plans to run again. Last month, he gained the nomination of his party, Zanu-PF, to contest the election. He had previously threatened to unilaterally call elections in March "with or without a new constitution."
Mr Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai have both said they are fed up with the coalition government, whose bickering has rattled investors.
The date of elections under the new deal hasn't been announced.
But Mr Mugabe said Thursday that the constitutional deal would pave the way for a vote this year without fail and that he would consult his government partners on election dates.
"We will make a proclamation as to the way forward, that is
stipulating our roadmap and state when the referendum will be held and indicate also when our elections would be forthcoming," said Mr. Mugabe, flanked by Mr Tsvangirai
and coalition partner Welshman Ncube.
The coalition government's formation in 2008 brought hope that the
country's freefalling economy would stabilize while investors would return.
But a survey released earlier this month by the World Bank ranking
185 economies on ease of doing business showed that Zimbabwe is among the least favorable
destinations for doing business.
According to the report, Zimbabwe ranked 172 out of 185 economies,
slipping two places from a report released the previous year.
A version of this article appeared January 19, 2013, on page A9 in the US edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Zimbabwe Deal Would Limit Power Of President.
Mugabe doesn’t want to be
remembered as a man of violence? It’s a little late for that, isn’t it? As long
as I can remember, Mugabe has been the face of violence and terror, a man who
cares more for himself than the people he purportedly represents.
Packing the agreement
between the principals in a neat document means nothing to me. Mugabe has
signed many, many agreements and has failed to fulfil his part of the deal
almost every time.
This document is a waste of
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says there have been no earth shattering changes to the draft constitution finalised by the principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) on Thursday.
The organisation said this after meeting the Constitution
Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora of the mainstream Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) on Friday.
The following is a full statement issued by Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe after the meeting with Mwonzora entitled "How the constitution strings were finally tied together:
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition met COPAC co-chairperson, Hon
Douglas Mwonzora, who revealed the full details of the agreement reached to finalize the COPAC Draft constitution at the Crisis Offices on Friday,
January 18, 2013.
The meeting was attended by the Crisis Coalition Director McDonald Lewaneka and
Programs Manager Nixon Nyikadzino. Hon Mwonzora apprised the Coalition’s Officers
on the agreement reached on the 7 key deadlock issues. The agreements are
contained in a signed Drafting Instruction which has been given to the drafters
who, the Co-Chair said, are now in the process of finalizing the draft
constitution. Hon. Mwonzora informed the meeting that they expected the final
version of the draft constitution to be out in a week, and latest by end of
January 2013, ready for presentation to Parliament in February, with possibilities
of a Referendum on the Draft Constitution in April.
After the meeting, the interim assessment of the Coalition is that
there seems to have been no earth shattering changes to the July 18 draft, and that most accommodations made, were unfortunately accommodations meant to allays
political party fears rather than address the peoples aspirations.
The process, only has meaningful credence in as far as it allowed the out puts of some fairly democratic discussions at the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference to be discussed and incorporated into the final draft, albeit with Politicians and Political party leaders as the final arbiters on the
The COPAC co-chair shared the following as the final agreements on the deadlock issues (paraphrased), with the Coalitions interim comments where it was felt necessary. Extensive comments will be sought from the Coalitions members and Experts and released in due course.
All Clauses on devolution will be as in
the COPAC draft constitution released on July 18, 2012, with the changes being the following:
A preamble to explain what devolution
does not incorporate or imply. The office of Governor has been done away with
to be replaced by a Head of Provincial Council, who will be elected by the full council from the list
provided by a party with the majority in the council.
The provisions on devolution while short of what would have been ideal, are welcome
as a good platform to build on for the future. Better than other more abstract concepts, which had been placed on the table like Delegation and
Decentralization. The absence of direct democracy in most of how this devolved
state is going to be put up, and the absence of a Provincial Government still
means that there are gaps, that were created as a result of the compromises,
but gaps, which may be lived with.
There will be an Attorney General and a
National Prosecuting Authority as in the COPAC draft. The change is that the
transitional provision will work for six years instead of the previously
proposed seven years.
The separation of these two functions is a welcome development. The only rub here,
has to do not with the provision but with personalities involved in the offices during the Transitional period. The assumption, one would guess is
that the Current Attorney General will take up one of the office, possibly the NPA leadership for the transitional period. Given reservations around the partiality of the current office bearer this leaves a foul taste in the mouth. However, the provision introduces a limit to the term of the office bearer, which was not the case before.
- National Peace and
There will be a constitutional body for
10 years after which an Act of Parliament may decide to perpetuate it. The difference is that the provision in the draft Constitution of 18 July 2012 used the word “shall” instead of “may.”, and the period for the existence of the constitutional body had been
- Executive Authority
Executive authority will be vested in the
President and he/she will exercise it through Cabinet. The COPAC draft said the executive authority will be vested in both President and Cabinet.
- Land Commission
The commission will be an executive body
which will be under the Minister responsible for Lands, but in order to avoid executive arm twisting the commissioners will have security of tenure. The commission will be empowered to
carry out the Land Audit to ensure the “one person one farm principle.”
In spite of the safeguards put in place, the commission would still have been better off as an independent Constitutional Commission. The compromise made
is reflective not of best practice but the fears of some parties to the state
at the moment.
- Running mate
The running mate provision will remain
the same, but will be coupled with a transitional provision that ensures that
it will not be immediately implemented, but will come into effect after five years.
The transitional provisions are a “get out of jail free card” for the current political leaders, who will not have to deal with the messy issues of succession in their parties at this stage in full view of the country’s citizens.
The constitutional court will remain part
of the constitution and there will be a transitional provision to have the Chief Justice Four Supreme Court and three
new judges sitting on the court for seven years.
The transitional arrangements here are also reflective of fears rather than best practice. The inclusion of this court in the constitution would have offered an opportunity for a fresh start with independent judges. Part of the challenge of this provision will be the absence of a meaningful vetting exercise that is backward looking to ensure that Judges to this court have not been complicit in bastardising the constitution or engaged in some dishonorable conduct while on the bench in the previous dispensation. The absence of this vetting process will mean that it is possible for bad apples from the past to be transported into the new dispensation. There is also the challenge
of ‘double dipping’ by some judges who will be on bother the Supreme Court and Constitutional court benches.
Mugabe will never stand be
any agreement with the MDC
which curtails his powers or gives them any concession.
Nkomo joins a long line of
Mugabe’s government who have found themselves not only being outlived by the
old man, but also dying in office.
And every time that this
happens, Mugabe turns it into a huge ZANU PF fanfare and they all head to
Heroes Acre so that the ZANU PF Burial Spciety can do their thing.
It is enough to make you sick.
Vice President John Landa Nkomo died on Thursday morning, after
years battling cancer.
Nkomo was 78 years old and is Zimbabwe’s fourth vice president to die in office, after Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika – who passed away aged
82, 80 and 85 respectively.
President Robert Mugabe expressed his sorrow at the loss of the
Vice President, during a joint press conference on the new constitution at State House.
The president said: “On behalf of cabinet, our sincerest
condolences to his family, to his dear old mother, to his relatives and to all his friends. We are together with them.
“They have lost a real revolutionary, a fighter for freedom, a
friend of the people.”
Nkomo was a founding member of nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU, before its merger with ZANU PF in 1987 following the Gukurahundi massacres.
He held several portfolios as a cabinet minister before being appointed one of Mugabe’s deputies in 2009, following the death of Msika.
The United States embassy was the first to announce his
death in a condolence statement.
“Whether as a teacher, a politician, an advocate for Zimbabwe’s independence, or as a public servant,
Vice President Nkomo was a patriot who dedicated his life to Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and prosperity.
“As a leader of PF Zapu and Zanu PF, Nkomo played an important
role in shaping the course of Zimbabwean history. May he rest in peace,” the embassy
Initially there were conflicting reports as to where the vice
president was when he died, with some reports saying he died in South Africa after treatment for cancer. But the president revealed that his situation deteriorated on Wednesday and he was rushed to St Anne’s Hospital in Harare where he passed away.
Some observers have pointed out that it is unfortunate that senior
government leaders are still in office when they are old and ill, and die before they are able to enjoy retirement.
Water Minister and a close family member, Sam Sipepa Nkomo told SW
Radio Africa: “I don’t know if it’s their policy that they can’t rest from
public office. I totally agree that this is what happened before. The four vice presidents died in office. They were sick and I can only assume that this is perhaps the policy of their party.”
But he added that the family couldn’t really raise the issue of
retirement with John Nkomo because; “the state in which he was, you couldn’t raise anything like that because you were afraid that you could hurt his feelings and whether he retired or not in the end was making no difference. You could see that the man was in pain.”
Observers say Nkomo’s death is likely to renew the succession
debate and the discussions around 88 year old Mugabe’s health, as the country
prepares for ‘make or break’ elections this year.
Mugabe will piggyback on
anything to further his own cause. Nkomo was part of ZAPU and Mugabe used him
as the Matabele face in government.
And his demise has left a
hole in the upper strata of government and Mugabe has to move swiftly to fill
it, but his selsection has got to be acceptable to both ZANU Pf and ZAPU - and
the people of Zimbabwe.
That is a tough call, I
don’t think that he can do it.
How can ZANU PF investigate
They do say that it takes a
thief to catch a thief, but when the investigation is done by an interested
party in the theft or fraud, then the whole thing is laughable.
Zanu PF has opened an investigation into possible looting of cash donated to the party by some firms mining diamonds in Marange.
It is a case that could open a can of worms, but so far, the probe
is centering on the party’s Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, although bigger fish are reportedly involved.
Madiro is under investigation for allegedly receiving an
undisclosed amount of money from some diamond mining companies in Marange under the guise of assisting
youths to set up incoming generating projects.
He is alleged to have diverted the money for his own use.
Party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa confirmed a
probe was underway.
“Yes, the party is investigating the allegations that are being levelled against him. We are expecting the findings before the end of the week,” said Mutasa.
Madiro rubbished the reports.
He told the Daily News in a brief telephone interview that he had
nothing to do with the alleged investigation by his party.
“I have no comment, as my comment will not add any value to the
party Zanu PF which I belong to,” Madiro said.
He added he was unaware that he was under any investigation from
anyone on anything.
Sources within Zanu PF say the under fire Manicaland chairperson
is being investigated by officials from within his party for suspected misappropriation of funds running into thousands of dollars.
Mutasa would not say more on the matter stating that they will
wait for the outcome of the probe, which would be made public.
Madiro is the latest senior Zanu PF official to come under probe
following the sacking of the party’s Manicaland provincial youth chair Tawanda Mukodza who
was accused of failing to account for youths’ projects money.
Kelvin Manyengavana replaced Mukodza.
Mukodza’s ouster in December has since been endorsed by the party
in Manicaland province.
He was accused of also not accounting for money meant for youth
The matter is still in the hands of the party and no police report
has been made yet, sources say.
The Zanu PF national secretary for youth affairs Absalom Sikhosana
last week upheld Mukodza’s sacking on allegations of corruption, nepotism, insubordination and fanning divisions within the party.
But Mukodza is adamant he is still the party’s youth leader.
Mukodza said Sikhosana, as an individual, had no power to endorse his ouster from the party.
“I am party cadre who will not relent to work for the party and act on what appears in newspapers. As far as I know, I have not received that letter and I remain the Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chair. Sikhosana is not a member of the party’s disciplinary committee, which is supposed to deal with such
alleged issues,” said Mukodza.
Good ol’ ZANU PF - clearing
house their own way. If the truth be told, they are embarrassed that one of
their own has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.