Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Other Side of the Coin: Draft Constitution Showdown in Zimbabwe

The Other Side of the Coin: Draft constitution showdown in Zim

Saturday, 25 August 2012 17:12
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
By Udo Froese

The neo-colonial powers from Whitehall to the White House united, breached the internationally negotiated and agreed Lancaster House Agree­ment of 1979 for Zimbabwe’s sovereign independence.

The history leading up to that breach committed by former British Labour Party prime minister Tony Blair and his right-wing American counterpart, George W. Bush, is on record.

When Zimbabweans demonstrated their intolerance of the aforementioned illegal breach, London and Washington, together with their proxies, countered with another illegal act — imposing crippling sanctions against the small Southern African state of Zimbabwe, with a planned impact on the economy of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Located in the heart of Southern Africa, landlocked Zimbabwe is a member of Sadc, the African Union and the United Nations. Sadc commit­ted itself to mediate the formation of a gov­ernment of national unity (GNU).

Eventually, Zimbabwe got a second wind.
It dropped its currency, the Zim­babwe dollar, and based its economy on the United States dollar and the South African rand, among other currencies.

With a booming mining industry, Zimbabwe was able to rejuvenate its economy and to improve the lives of her people.

Now, July/August 2012 constitutional experts drafted a constitution and tabled it in Harare to prepare for the next elections. The contents of that Draft Constitution had to ensure that the foreign guiders of the opposition were safe, even in the event of the oppo­sition to the country’s Head of State and Zanu-PF losing the forthcoming elec­tions.

This means the guiders of the politi­cal opposition in Zimbabwe are not sure that together, both MDCs will actually win. Let us be honest and prag­matic, despite being part of the inclusive Government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, were not successful to have the sanctions against their country lifted. So, why then vote for a failure?

This is the question in the minds of most Zimbabweans, even of those liv­ing here in South Africa. The foreign interests, too, are aware of it.

In the above context, it would make sense for them to write the Executive President out of power. According to the Copac draft constitution, the execu­tive power would be shifted from the President to Parliament.

The draft constitution says the Presi­dent cannot dissolve Parlia­ment.

But, Parliament can impeach the President. Parliament is guaranteed a tenure of five years, but the President is not. The President would have two terms of office only, together amount­ing to 10 years.

The reason for such a draft constitu­tion for Zimbabwe is that even if both MDCs together lose the elections, they would retain the power of control through the constitution and Parlia­ment.

It seems, however, good progress is being made. A referendum will follow before the end of this year, with the final goal of elections.

This is clear.

It has obviously been properly strate­gised and lobbied. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton said that if all would work out in Zimbabwe, Wash­ington would be prepared to lift sanc­tions, something Tsvangirai was not able to deliver.

It is interesting to observe that at the same time the commanding officer of the “US African Command (AfriCom)” pays a visit to neighbouring Botswana.

It would seem that South Africa and Sadc have not much of an option but to accept the global order, as dic­tated by the Western pow­ers.

However, it would backfire if Zim­babwe and, therefore, the rest of the region would be compromised to the benefit of foreign interests only.

If Zimbabwe would fall into the hands of the above-mentioned foreign forces, it could swing the geo-political balance of an entire region in favour of those interests.

Angola and Zimbabwe’s armed forces and their respective governments, how­ever, still remain too powerful and too independent within the Sadc to estab­lish a fully integrated region by 2018.

Udo W. Froese is an independent political and socio-economic analyst and published columnist, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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