OF all the daft remarks made about the draft constitution, and there have been many, those by Goodson Nguni in the Herald last week should take an award.
“It is obvious there is a link between the illegal, immoral, undemocratic regime-change and the draft constitution,” he declared.
“Zimbabweans are wondering how a constitution which was authored for three years was suddenly available at the end of July just as the European Union was meeting.”
Why does Nguni see a plot in all this? It has long been the EU’s position that funds would be made available to Zimbabwe if it conducted a transparent and democratic referendum. There’s nothing “illegal, immoral or undemocratic” about that.
The EU would like Zanu PF to commit suicide, Nguni fatuously claims, by accepting a “return to Rhodesia” through the draft.
This silly remark derives from the fact that the draft protects property rights. But Nguni doesn’t stop there. He denounces judicial reform, a ceremonial president who shares power with his appointees in cabinet, and a politicised attorney-general “whose main function would be to prosecute all beneficiaries of the land reform programme”.
He also takes exception to a president deprived of powers to dissolve parliament…a parliament with powers to amend presidential powers and make new regulations, a parliament that will advise and control the president, and lastly a parliament which will have a final say in the timing of elections.
These are of course all progressive measures that can be found in constitutions around the world. But Nguni is aggrieved. The Western-backed parties don’t care what the people said in the outreach programme, he claims.
Zanu PF has been churning out this mantra since the drafting started. They expect the public to buy their spurious claims.
In fact it is Nguni and his ilk who don’t care what the people said. We know perfectly well what they said in 2008. And Zanu PF certainly didn’t care then. Why do they suddenly care now? In particular Nguni abhors those elements of the draft that provide basic rights to the people.
Rights such as a reformed Judicial Service Commission, an independent judiciary, a clear separation of powers, and a parliament with powers to amend and initiate legislation.
All these things are fundamental in any modern and enlightened constitution. But according to Nguni they are a “conspiracy against Zanu PF”.
“Even more controversial is that the draft constitution allows for dual citizenship and the children and grandchildren of white Rhodesians will be allowed to come to Zimbabwe and participate in elections obviously voting for the MDC formations. The draft constitution is a fraud.”
What is fraudulent here is the myth that Zanu PF can bring about meaningful change when it has not been able to do so over a 30-year period. And they feel a compelling need to disenfranchise minorities. They are appalled that minorities might actually exercise their right to vote.
Nguni is president of the Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations, we are told.
Anybody heard of that outfit? What we do know about it is its rejection of every single progressive measure in the new draft. It wants to maintain a powerful president who should not be constrained by parliament or an independent judiciary. Amendment No 7 has returned to haunt us. The imperial presidency remains unalloyed. The very fact that Zanu PF prefers the Lancaster House document tells us all we need to know about its attitude to reform. It prefers colonial institutions to local ones.
At least with people like Nguni advertising his antediluvian views the public will get a good view of the sort of society Zanu PF wants to build. Of course Zimbabweans want regime change. Most people do. And they have the right to vote for it.
The recent killing by the police of striking mine workers at Lonmin mine in South Africa has provided fodder for Zanu PF mandarins who milked the disaster for all its worth.
Crying louder than the bereaved South Africans, the analysts were up in arms last week over the supposedly “mischievous” failure by Western media to give “full” coverage of the shootings.
“A clear demonstration of double standards on the part of the imperialists,” we were told.
It is strange how these analysts find their voices in pointing out the excesses of other regimes except their own.
Our own ZRP are no angels either with Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe recently chastising them for brutality after allegedly hitting a vendor with a brick while in police custody and breaking his leg.
ZBC also took the opportunity to take the moral high ground wagging a finger at Western media outlets for selective coverage in their reportage.
“Thursday’s shootings in Rustenburg, South Africa, now dubbed as the Marikana Massacre, where police fired automatic weapons against advancing strikers, has shocked many but surprisingly the Western media has remained silent,” ZBC mused last Sunday.
Wonders never cease, it seems, and there was more where this drivel came from.
ZBC “analyst” Chris Mutsvangwa said while Zimbabwe sympathises with South Africa, people in the region should be wary about the “mischief” and selective coverage by Western media in protecting their interests.
Nguni also pitched in, urging the African continent to be careful of the divide and rule approach by the West, saying it could have been a different story had such shootings taken place in Zimbabwe.
Adding to the vainglorious chorus was the Herald on Tuesday in its editorial comment which read: “Despite the gruesome death toll of 44, when the eight mine workers and two police officers who died earlier in the week are factored in, Western media coverage has been largely indifferent at worst and muted at best.”
Would the response have been the same had those 34 miners been shot and killed at any of the four mines operating in Chiadzwa, the Herald wanted to know?
Unsurprisingly the fact that President Jacob Zuma had cut short his trip to Mozambique where he was attending the Sadc summit and had already set up a taskforce to probe the killings was omitted. Facts, it would seem, are an inconvenience best avoided.
Without batting the proverbial eyelid, the Herald lectured on: “As the media, we all need to have a sense of perspective and reflect on the value judgments that underpin our reactions to issues, and what they mean in our scheme of things. Such a responsible approach will, no doubt, help us understand not only our role as watchdogs but also our obligations to the society that entrusts us with the pen.”
We are not sure which Western media they are referring to because the major television networks were awash with the story.
Funny how such mendacious claims are coming from a publication which claims to be taking a “responsible approach” to journalism.
Meanwhile Foreign Affairs secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha has been misleading the Herald on the status of our Lesotho visitor, Mr Tom Motsoahae Thabane, who is in Harare to open the Agricultural Show.
“He is coming tomorrow on a three-day state visit and will officially open the agricultural Show on Friday,” Bimha said. “Several” heads of state have opened the Show since Independence, we are told. The Herald’s list of presidents includes the “president” of Swaziland.
Muckraker is open to correction here, but the last time we looked Swaziland was ruled by a king. And so is Lesotho.
In fact only heads of state can make state visits. We understand the need to boost Zimbabwe’s standing in the region, but that should not include helping the Herald to get things wrong!
South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman, Mutumwa Mawere, has formed a party called United Movement for Democracy (UMDP) and thrown his hat into the presidential ring, reports The Zimbabwean.
UMDP, The Zimbabwean reports, is predominantly made up of MDC99 members with former MDC99 spokesperson Aaron Muzungu and vice-president Biviana Musimi being among the fledgling party’s officials.
Muzungu, who again has taken the position of party’s spokesperson said: “After falling out with MDC99 leader, Job Sikhala, on matters of strategy, we realised that to achieve our objective of democratically changing the political dispensation in the country, we had to break away and form a new political party under the leadership of Mutumwa Mawere.”
Muzungu gained infamy after he was arrested and charged for stealing a Ford Ranger T6 which was being displayed at a car show by Croco Motors.
According to the Herald, Muzungu “gatecrashed the event, sat in the cab, noticed the keys were in the ignition and fuel was in the tank. So he started the engine, drove out of the display area, and out of the sports club and out of sight”.
Over the next eight days, Croco Motors offered a US$5 000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the vehicle which had done just 17 km.
Detectives from the CID Vehicle Theft Squad finally traced the vehicle to Muzungu, who told the investigators he had “bought” the truck at the car show. Its new mileage was 1 317km.
Let’s hope Muzungu will drive his new party to success. Pun intended!
We could only agree with President Zuma that given the delicacy of the situation at Marikana Mine, restraint should be exercised by all. Zuma has appointed a commission of inquiry into the tragedy.
“With tensions running as high as they were at Marikana and in surrounding communities at the (last)weekend, it is only the criminally irresponsible and cynically opportunistic who would wade in and stoke the fires of inter-union and party-political conflict any further,” Business Day commented.
“But sure enough, former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was in there, gumboots and all, stoking away. His speech to the striking miners was chilling in its disregard for the potential to provoke further violence and death, and breathtaking in its self-serving exploitation of raw emotion for political ends.”
Let us remind ourselves at this juncture that Malema is a friend of Zanu PF who omits to mention that when he says President Zuma is protecting British business interests at Lonmin, he doesn’t mean those interests he went to London to meet just a week earlier! Some of the miners at Rustenburg listening to Malema had been convinced by a sangoma a few days earlier that if they let him smear some black powder into cuts on their foreheads they would become invincible, we are told.
Finally another demagogue who needs to be unmasked is Julian Assange who has been appearing on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he is holed up. Assange has obviously been studying film footage of Mussolini addressing his followers from the balcony overlooking the Piazza Venezia in Rome. Assange forgot to mention that he faces rape charges in Sweden and that Ecuador’s equally populist president Correa has an appalling record of repression of the media.
Strange isn’t it how these details get left out!