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‘Elections only feasible in 2012’

ZIMBABWE should not expect elections in 2011 unless the country is willing to have them under the same conditions as the bloody June 27 polls of 2008, a top government official has said.

This was said as political parties in the inclusive government were now talking about a negotiated draft constitution, a process which the official said is likely to be as protracted as the negotiations that led to the signing of the global political agreement (GPA), which gave birth to the unity government in February last year.
The official, who preferred anonymity, said there was no way democratic reforms would be put in place as early as next year.
He said the earliest possible time that Zimbabwe can expect elections is in 2012, adding when all agreed democratic reforms outlined in the GPA, which include electoral, media and security reforms, would have been implemented.
“If you want an election which is predicated on Zanu PF retreating or a government of Zimbabwe retreating and you suddenly have outsiders run an election, you are joking, it’s not going to happen,” said the government insider.
“At the very least 2012. If you want to have an election in 2011, you will have to say it is an election that generally repudiates the GPA — no new constitution, no electoral reforms, no media reforms — nothing. So if that is the election we want, then that’s fine.
He went further to say that: “The bottom line is that if you want to walk away from the GPA and have an election as if there was never a GPA then you can have an election next year. But if you want to go through some semblance that we are at the end of the GPA processes that we agreed upon then the earliest we can talk about is 2012.”
Giving an insight into the chaotic constitution-making process, the official said the three political parties in the unity government will now have to go back to the drawing board and agree on how best to proceed.
Contrary to press statements from the Constitution Select Committee (Copac), which has announced that a drafting committee would be appointed in January, he said people should not expect one any time soon.
“Even the (Douglas) Mwonzoras (Copac co-chairperson) are busy saying that a drafting committee of the constitution will only be appointed in January. But first of all there will not be any drafting committee at all anywhere in the future,” he said. “How do you draft a constitution from the data which is there, if you have no power to negotiate? Can I say these are the notes to draft a constitution; from which of the voices are you going to take? They don’t have anyone in that select committee who has negotiating powers.”
The other two Copac co-chairpersons are Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, who is not in Zanu PF’s politburo and MDC-M’s national executive member Edward Mkhosi. Mwonzora is not in the MDC-T national executive.
The government official said they would have to decide on whether they go back to the initial agreed model whereby they were going to use the Kariba draft as the reference point.
“Basically, the model that we had selected of making a constitution is no longer there. We have to find another. That model was based on the understanding we were going to take Kariba to the people and the people would say yes to this and no to that,” the source pointed out.
He believed that 80% of the Kariba draft constitution would not have been a problem and they would have had to change 20% based on the people’s views.
“But if you repudiate Kariba, you are starting from scratch.  You have to have people who have the full authority of the political parties to negotiate, to give in and to compromise,” the official said, adding that: “In that select committee there is no one from all the political parties who has the mandate to negotiate because this was supposed to be a PR thing, so who is going to negotiate for you there?”
He added: “So that whole structure is not capable of delivering anything. Because now you have the different voices from the people, people in Masvingo want one thing, now you have to have people authorised to derecognise that voice and recognise this voice. This is a self-inflicted problem.”
The Kariba draft was negotiated by  negotiators from the three political parties to the GPA.


Faith Zaba

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