Changing Times Online

Dave Fish Eagle
Movement for Democratic Change Weekly Newsletter
July 1, 2009

 Prime Minister endorses MDC’s Cabinet boycott

10th Anniversary celebratory rally in Marondera at Rudhaka stadium on Sunday 5 July

The Prime Minister, Hon. Morgan Tsvangirai has endorsed the move taken by MDC ministers in boycotting yesterday’s cabinet meeting as he understands their frustrations and concerns over the delays in the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

All MDC ministers yesterday boycotted the weekly cabinet meeting after it had been brought forward in order to bar the PM from chairing the meeting as President Robert Mugabe would be out of the country.

The ministers were also disappointed by the fact that five months after the formation of the inclusive government, Zanu PF was unwilling to timeously resolve outstanding issues under the GPA.

“The outstanding issues that must be resolved and resolved immediately are a matter of record and were articulated clearly yesterday by deputy Prime Minister, (Hon. Thokozani) Khupe.

“The ministers from my party disengaged from the Cabinet meeting held yesterday. I understand their frustrations and concerns. It is the same frustration expressed by Zimbabweans in general and the international community that we wish to re-engage with as a nation. These frustrations emanate from the slow pace of the implementation of the GPA,” Hon. Tsvangirai said at a press conference at his Munhumutapa offices.

He was speaking a day arriving in Zimbabwe from a three week visit to Europe and the United States to re-engage Zimbabwe with the international community.

“The visit was an essential step in the process of reposition Zimbabwe in the family of nations and redefining our national foreign policy agenda.”

“The primary purpose of the visit was to begin Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with key international donors. Every one of the countries I visited expressed their unequivocal support for the direction our country is taking, for our democratisation agenda for the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

The PM visited France, Norway, USA, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

He also launched the formal re-engagement process with the European Union.

“The response from the EU was immediate and encouraging. The EU committed itself to availing us with transitional and humanitarian support to the tune of more than US$150 million. They also pledged more support which will be guided by the way in which we meet our own political commitments as outlined in the GPA,” Hon. Tsvangirai said.

He said in every country he visited, the leaders expressed reservations about the delays of the GPA.

“They asked, why after almost five months, had fundamental obligations undertaken by the respective political parties not been implemented? They had concerns about the success of the new, transitional political dispensation as the government has not yet been fully constituted due to outstanding issues.

He said these issues were not foreign benchmarks imposed from outside the country, but were Zimbabwe’s conditions that were committed to when the GPA was signed.

“As such, the concerns of the international community are legitimate and the three political parties as the signatories to the GPA, and particularly the leaders of those parties, must take responsibility for the failure to implement fully the obligations we have signed up to,” he said.

Constitution making process should be inclusive of women at all levels: Makone

The MDC Women Assembly Chairperson, Hon. Theresa Makone has said there is under representation of women in decision making positions in the country an issue that should be looked into the drafting of the new Constitution.

Making a presentation at the Women’s Summit held from the 19th to the 20th June 2009 at the Harare International Conference Centre, Hon Makone said, there were gender gaps in the current Constitution and advocated for qualitative and quantitative participation of women in the Constitution-making process.

“The priority areas for women in relation to the Constitution is to ensure that there are clauses that speak of economic and social rights, 50- 50 percent representation of women in decision making positions, equitable resource allocation and implementation of all regional and international treaties and protocols that promote the rights of women and proportional representation as an electoral system” she said.

Hon. Makone highlighted that Zimbabwe was a signatory to many international treaties and protocols on women’s rights but it had not ratified and domesticated them into the Constitution.

She further implored on the status of the women that has been reduced to unwarranted levels as women are always on the receiving end whether on the economic, political and social end, given that there are delays and lack of resources for the implementation of laws that advance women’s rights.

The Women’s Summit was held as part of the consultations on the Constitution making process being held nationwide.

The MDC as a Party of Excellence is advocating for a truly people-driven Constitution reflective of the will of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans reject Kariba Draft

Thousands of Zimbabweans last week converged across the country’s provinces for the provincial constitutional consultative where a strong national consensus emerged against the imposition of the Kariba draft.

There was a unanimous call in all the provinces for the country to come up with a new-people driven Constitution despite attempts by Zanu PF to impose the Kariba Draft on the people.

In Bulawayo, members of the parliamentary select committee were Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe, Speaker of Parliament; Hon. Lovemore Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Hon. Gorden Moyo and the MP for Kadoma Central, Hon. Editor Matamisa.

Addressing the gathering, Hon. Lovemore Moyo reassured the civic society that the process would create adequate conditions for a broader participatory process in order to set conditions for a people-driven Constitution.

Hon. Matamisa explained that the country was still using the Lancaster House 1979 Constitution with 19 Amendments made to date and thereby making it a flawed document.

“We are starting from a blank page, and we are saying the people of Zimbabwe should put a mark on this blank page”, she said adding that for the people to retain ownership of their country they need to participate in the process.

In Mutare, the meeting was delayed after district administrators in Manicaland province barred members of the MDC from boarding buses that had been provided by parliament to ferry people to the venue.

As a result a number of MDC supporters were left stranded at different pick-up points.

Addressing the gathering the Senator for Mabuthweni, Hon. Gladys Gombami-Dube, said it was imperative that everyone, be it individuals, political organisations or civil society should participate in the Constitution-making process.

“We should bury our differences and have a common purpose to produce a people driven constitution that is by the people for the people. Every mind should be captured so that the final constitution becomes a true representation of every group in the society,” she said.

Hon. Dube said the select committee was not responsible for the sole documentation of the constitution but are just facilitators of the whole process.

“We just spearhead the process. Our duty is also to identify stakeholders to represent all sections of the society. The committee is also charged with convening an All Stakeholders conference for consultation and review purposes on the progress being made at given stages,” she said.

Meanwhile, there was a highly electric atmosphere at the Civil Centre in Masvingo on Saturday when Zanu PF supporters within the crowd tried to cow people as they rooted for the Kariba Draft Constitution.

However, despite pleas by the parliamentary select committee not to show any political affiliation, Retired Army Colonel Claudius Makova and Gutu West, MP Noel Tarirai Mandebvu, sparked uproar after brandishing Zanu PF slogans.

There was also chaos when Zanu PF’s Masvingo provincial chairperson, Lovemore Matuke tried to manhandle MDC members for simply sharing different sentiments with Zanu PF supporters.

However, the select committee through Hon. Jessie Majome and Hon. Paul Mangwana encouraged the free participation of each participant.

Hon. Mangwana of Zanu PF also attacked other Zanu PF members who are calling for the imposition of the Kariba Draft and said there was need to come up with a people-driven and supported Constitution.

“Tainted persons should not be appointed into the Zimbabwe Media Commission”

The proposed Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) is expected to be a transitory step towards total press freedom under a new, people-driven Constitution, the MDC national spokesperson, Hon. Nelson Chamisa has said.

He said Zimbabweans had waited for a long time for new media players and for the voices of the downtrodden to make national news.

“As a party of excellence, the MDC believes in press freedom. We believe in a Voluntary Media Council, but the ZMC would be a transitory step towards total press freedom under a new, people-driven Constitution.

“We believe that the new dispensation will not usher in a new era if we allow the old and suspicious characters to be part of the new order. It cannot be dawn if dusk characters of the Manheru mould are allowed to have their way in the new media dispensation,” he said.

Hon. Chamisa also explained that ZMC would also usher in a new era in media reforms and bring media plurality and diversity.

However, Hon. Chamisa said media freedom is the people’s freedom and individuals with a tainted history, a chequered and perforated past should not be found near the new media body.

“The likes of Tafataona Mahoso and other media hangmen who have left a legacy of five banned newspapers, bombed radio and television stations must never be allowed to be part of the board,” he said.

Hon. Chamisa also castigated attempts some senior officials in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity in misleading the nation that the Media and Information Commission MIC) had merely changed its name to be the Zimbabwe Media Commission was both scandalous and mischievous.

“A donkey does not become a cow by simply being renamed. These enemies of press freedom are either genuinely naïve or are being mischievous by trying to impose the old MIC secretariat on the ZMC,” he said.

He said the ruling made last month by High Court judge, Justice Bharat Patel, was very clear that the MIC was “dead and buried, never to resurrect”.

Inclusive government should not honour dubious debts and loans

The inclusive government has been challenged to come out in the open and invite government creditors to submit claims showing that their loans to the Zimbabwe government were used in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.

The call was made today by the Senator for Chisipte, Obert Gutu, at a conference organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) on the “Economy in Transition Dialogue.”

“The Zimbabwe government should promptly utilise the doctrine of odious debts by establishing a judicial debt arbitration panel, preferably composed of respected and eminent Zimbabwean and international jurists.

“This panel would then invite creditors to submit claims, including documentation that the loans were indeed used in the interests of the Zimbabwean people and, not to buy weapons, build palaces and build instruments of repression,’ ” he said in his paper entitled “The Legitimacy of Zimbabwe’s Debt: The Case for a Debt Audit.”

Hon. Gutu said as of December 1, 2008, Zimbabwe’s external debt stood at US$ 5,255 billion while as of May 31, 2009, Zimbabwe owed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) US$138 million and the World Bank US$676 million and on April 30, 2009, Zimbabwe owed the African Development Bank US$438 million.

“These statistics are startling and there is, therefore, an urgent need to interrogate Zimbabwe’s debt crisis and firstly ascertain how such a colossal debt was incurred and then strategise the way forward as to how this debt crisis is to be resolved.

“Put alternatively, the legitimacy or lack of it, of Zimbabwe’s debt has to be placed under the microscope if our country is to avoid being perpetually placed under a debt trap,” said Senator Gutu.

He said as a result Zimbabwe was at the crossroads.

“The country is caught up in a debt trap. Zimbabwe is burdened by both short and long-term external debts that inevitably militate against the inclusive government’s concerted efforts to jump-start the economy. Zimbabwe has no choice but to challenge the legitimacy of their debts to creditors with a view to ensuring that their development is not stifled by otherwise odious and – or illegitimate debts which militate against development,” he said.

He added that Zimbabwe should not honour any debts that have not been properly audited and proved to be lawful and legitimate.

“Honouring debts that are clearly odious will be the inclusive government’s kiss of death,” said Senator Gutu.

Ruwa residents get water after two years

The MDC-run Ruwa Local Board has hailed the MDC-led Harare City Council for coming to the rescue of the local board through a donation of 15 tonnes of water purification chemicals.

The donation made last Friday is a welcome relief to thousands of Ruwa residents who had gone for nearly two years without water supplies after the board resumed operations at its water treatment plant.

Ruwa Local Board director of engineering services, Engineer Anthony Mujuru said the development board had started working on the resuscitation of the water treatment plant after taking over water management from Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in April this year.

The local board had acquired two pumps that are currently running at the plant to replace those that were being used by Zinwa.

However, they could not supply the residents with clean water as the local board had no purification chemicals.

“This is actually a commendable job by the local board and Harare City Council considering that our residents had been without water for two years.

“We took over from Zinwa in April this year and within two months we have managed to repair the tanks and purchase two pumps.

“The two pumps are capable of pumping water enough to supply residents for three days a week but we want to add more pumps to improve daily supply,” said Eng Mujuru.

Quote: “A donkey does not become a cow by simply being renamed. These enemies of press freedom are either genuinely naïve or are being mischievous by trying to impose the old MIC secretariat on the ZMC,”said Hon Chamisa.

Categories: Africa, Odious Debts, Zimbabwe

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