Thank you, UK Ambassador Catriona Laing for your concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and, more significantly, for your contribution in the search for the way out of this hell-on-earth Mugabe has landed us into.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done,” said Nelson Mandela,” started Ambassador Laing. See UK will not bailout Mugabe, Zimeye Opinion column. “He wasn’t, but he could have been talking about the road to reform and recovery in Zimbabwe. As a foreigner here, you can truly feel the potential of Zimbabwe: its location, its natural assets, its climate and, above all, its smart, hard-working, and endlessly resilient people.”
Could not agree with you more Ambassadress, Zimbabwe has great potential but after 36 years of blundering from pillar to post wandering deeper and deeper into this hell-on-earth Mugabe has dragged us into one is given to doubting if the course you proposed is “the road to reform and recovery”.
Most people will agree that the holding of free, fair and credible elections is the key to Zimbabwe’s political stability and economic prosperity; the big question that divide and confuse Zimbabweans and foreigners alike is what should be done to ensure the next elections are indeed free and fair.
“Fourth, the Constitution is a major achievement,” wrote Ambassador Laing, in her five-point plan “but what can be described as “constitutionalism” is not yet embedded as the foundation of rule of law and human rights. With an election less than two years away, it is a priority to ensure electoral laws are in line with the Constitution so that the outcome of the election itself is not contested.”
I believe it will take a lot more than twit existing laws to deliver free and fair elections!
Zimbabwe’s new Constitution gives excessive powers to the State President with none of the usual democratic checks and balances. Section 209 subsection (2) (a) of the Constitution, for example, states; “The functions of the National Security Council (NSC) are – to develop the national security policy for Zimbabwe”
Well we know that Mugabe, as the State President and chairman of the NSC, has identified “regime change agents” as a serious security threat and deployed State resources to made sure they do not succeed. Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has admitted in his doctorate thesis that this has been the greatest challenge for ZRP since independence.
The fact that Mugabe alone has the power to hire and fire the Police Commissioners and all the other top brass officers (he enjoys the same powers in the other security service sectors and a multitude of other State Institutions) means the ZRP’s Constitution need to be impartial and independence has been compromised.
Before the nation approved the new Constitution in March 2013, Morgan Tsvangirai assured the people it would safe guard all our individual freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections. It is an “MDC child!” he insisted. He lied. It was Mugabe who had “dictated” the new Constitution, as the Zanu PF MP Paul Mangwana, the party’s co-chairman on the parliamentary committee that drafted the new Constitution, later boasted.
The new Constitution has the usual Mugabe hallmarks; it has many pages of the dedicated to defining and granting the individual freedoms and rights, making a big song and dance about that; only to take ratchet them all away in a few innocuous looking clauses such as section 209, subsection (2) (a), above.
“Finally, we all need to communicate more clearly with the people of this country what we are doing and why,” argued Ambassador Laing in her fifth point. “Britain and the international community, as well as the government, Reserve Bank and other critical institutions, can all get better at this.”
To take you up on the “need to communicate more clearly the with people, Ambassador; I suggest the British should commission a thorough legal expert to help settle the matter of whether, even with all the best political will in the world, Zimbabwe’s new Constitution can ever deliver free, fair and credible elections. Or we are just wasting our time trying to get blood from a stone.
Zimbabwe will never have free, fair and credible elections on the basis of its weak and feeble Constitution; that, even Nelson Mandela would have told you, is impossible!