New constitution should be starting point for Mkapa

By Eliphas Mukonoweshuro



THE MDC has followed closely developments at the seventh African Union summit held in Banjul, Gambia, over the weekend.



ustify>The MDC notes with concern the acceptance by the United Nations secretary-general Mr Kofi Annan of former Tanzanian president, Benjamin Mkapa, as mediator in the conflict “between Zimbabwe and Britain”.


In our view, there is a serious structural crisis in Zimbabwe, but it has to be located correctly. The crisis in Zimbabwe is one of governance. It is a crisis of a weak and usurped constitution, a crisis of a privatised and militarised state that has failed.


In our view therefore, incorrectly identifying the crisis necessarily predicates an incorrect solution.


The mediation that is required urgently is between the stubborn dictatorial Mugabe regime and the brutalised people of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean crisis will not go away unless the dictatorship is totally rooted out of the country’s political culture.


More importantly, since this is a regional crisis, it will be wise for the Sadc region to come up with its own point persons and intercessors.


The region, through Sadc, must accept and recognise that the Zimbabwean crisis is having a pervasive and negative multiplier effect in the entire region. That being so, Zimbabweans and the region itself, must be at the core of any process and roadmap connected with resolving the crisis.


The African Union too must recognise that this is an African crisis and like Sadc, it must not pass the baton to the UN. Understandably, the region and Africa are arrested by fatigue and frustration vis a vis their failure to rein in the dictatorship in Zimbabwe. However, Africa must recall its recent united front against the apartheid regime when everyone played their role.


Of further concern to us is the ability and capacity of President Mugabe in appointing a mediator in a situation where he is a major actor. Principles of natural justice and common sense dictate that one cannot be an umpire and wicketkeeper in the same game.


Clearly in our view, if the UN accepts the need and obligation of a point person, then it must appoint its own mediator. In addition, it is our experience from the past that appointing point persons with ambiguous and ill-defined terms of reference, is a disaster.


The whole process can become a smokescreen for averting, delaying and postponing the urgent action that is required in respect of the crippling crisis in Zimbabwe.


To us, there can be no solution to the Zimbabwean crisis unless Zimbabweans are allowed the opportunity of writing a new, democratic, people-driven constitution for.


Once this constitution is accepted in a referendum, clearly, free and fair elections under international supervision must be held.


Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is MDC secretary for international relations.