Cathy Buckle – A step in the process

A step in the process

Dear Family and Friends,
Tension had been building for weeks, everyone was expecting trouble,
propaganda and rumour had reached ridiculous proportions and no one
thought there was a chance of a peaceful final meeting on the draft
new constitution. For three and a half years every step of our new
constitution making process has been littered with bickering,
accusations, intimidation and threats. We’ve had rowdy youths
barging their way into meetings and breaking them up; meetings
cancelled or abandoned; delegates assaulted; rapporteurs threatened,
recording equipment seized and MP’s fleeing venues to get away from
violent elements. To be honest many people didn’t think we would
even get to the closing All Stakeholders Conference while others had
already given up on the whole process saying it had been politically
hijacked long ago.

No one expected that the final conference would go smoothly and we sat
on the edge of our seats waiting for trouble, but it never came. Or it
never came in the crude, big -stick way, which has become the
trademark of decision making in Zimbabwe. Unbelievably over a thousand
men and women met in Harare for two days and only one incident made
front page headlines when a Zanu PF delegate, Temba Mliswa, grabbed a
camera being used to record proceedings and took it away. Other
incidents were going on that didn’t make news headlines but were
highlighted in a press statement by a quartet of NGO’s known as
ZZZICOMP. The group recorded delegates who intimidated, harassed,
heckled and issued verbal threats to other delegates. They said there
was widespread coaching of delegates by all three political parties
which left them parroting party opinions.

So far most people haven’t seen the new draft but those that have
are far from happy about clauses which are clearly the result of
political negotiation rather than the opinions of ordinary people.
It’s not really clear what happened to the pages of amendments Zanu
PF were insisting on or what happened to resolve any of the most
contentious issues such as dual citizenship, diaspora voting;
presidential running mates, land rights, a prosecuting authority or
the devolution of power.

I know that my rights as a Zimbabwean are not protected in the draft
new constitution. I also know that it is extremely unlikely that the
multiple thousands of born and resident Zimbabweans struck off the
voters roll in the last ten years will even be allowed to vote in the
referendum on this draft new constitution. Don’t get so upset about
it, people say, it’s just another step in the process. But which
process: the Zanu PF process, the MDC process or a process for our
children and future generations of Zimbabweans regardless of which
political party they choose to support. Until next time, thanks for
reading, love cathy. 27th October 2012.

Copyright Cathy Buckle.

For information on my new book “IMIRE”, about Norman Travers and
Imire Game Park, or my other books about Zimbabwe: “Innocent
Victims,” African Tears,” “Beyond Tears;” and “History of
the Mukuvisi Woodlands 1910-2010”, or to subscribe to
Cathy’s letter, please visit the  website or contact [email protected]

See other recent posts from Cathy Buckle

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