By Wilbert Mukori
13 March 2013
Good evening my fellow Zimbabweans. This is the last time I will be speaking to you before you vote in the referendum to accept or reject this Copac constitution, this dictator’s creed, whitewashed with the colours of democracy. I would want to address some of the falsehoods and downright lies to get you to vote yes in the referendum when the nation’s true interest says you must vote no.
“I think it is criminal for any nation to spend the amount and extent of resources [financial, human and time] as has been the case in the Constitutional Reform processes in Zimbabwe, twice in 12 years!, and still have nothing to show for it.” This was one of the five reasons Teresa Mugadza, the Deputy Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission, gave why she was going to vote yes in the upcoming referendum. So we will have something “to show for it”! A sentiment many would agree with.
In 2000 the nation rejected the Zanu PF draft constitution and after all the hoo-ha over this Copac constitution it is tempting to say that the nation will never come up with anything better than this and so let us just accept this one.
Historians say the people of Troy took the Giant Trojan Horse into the fortified City gates because after the ten-year seige on their city by the Greeks the people were yearning for something to show for it. The Greeks had failed to breach the city’s defences and it was the soldiers smuggled inside the giant wooden horse who opened the city gates and Troy was reduced to ashes.
Mugabe has done his best these last five years to wind-up the MDC and the nation at large with all the false starts, disruptions, delays, etc. in this constitution writing process. So when Mugabe finally presented his “dictated” Copac constitution – it was dictated by Mugabe just as the 2000 constitution was dictated by Mugabe – Tsvangirai and Ncube were worn out and signed on the dotted line with no questions asked. It is tempting for the rest of us to follow suit; for that is exactly what Mugabe is counting on us to do, just as the Greeks had counted on the people of Troy to take the giant horse into their city!
Like the Trojan horse, this Copac constitution is not what it appears to be; it has all the outward appearance of a democratic constitution, a full menu of all the basic rights, freedoms and liberties, except that we will never enjoy any of them because in it too is hidden the Mugabe and Zanu PF dictatorship, complete with all its dictatorial powers to deny us all these rights as it has done these last 33 years.
You have heard the expression the elephant in the room, meaning an important and obvious topic which everyone present is aware of, but which isn’t discussed, as such discussion is considered to be uncomfortable. Well we have two elephants in Zimbabwe which we must name, discuss and deal with decisively or this nation is doomed.
The two elephants in Zimbabwe are Mugabe and the Zanu PF dictatorship.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF friends are the nation’s liberation heroes and that is why the nation has been loathed to say anything critical of them. But after 33 years of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and an all-out looting spree that has forced millions of our people into abject poverty and despair the nation has no choice but to seek change, to end this corruption and oppression.
Mugabe and Zanu PF are the two elephants in the room consuming all the wealth and resources and when the people protest against these injustices they are ruthlessly silenced.
The GPA, an agreement arrived at after the nightmare 2008 elections which saw Mugabe and Zanu PF commit their worst ever wanton election violence, is a SADC initiative offering us a way to end this dictatorship. The GNU was tasked to implement a raft of democratic reforms designed to dismantle the dictatorship brick by brick and use the same bricks to build democratic institutions.
Mugabe refused to implement the reforms and Tsvangirai, out of incompetency, failed to push for the reforms. Implement the reforms and you get rid of the elephants; fail to implement the reforms and you can only get rid of the ticks, fleas, dandruff, etc. off the elephants’ backs.
If people vote yes in the coming referendum then they will be voting for the compromise solution of getting the ticks, fleas, etc. but not the elephants. Vote no and you will get rid of the elephants; the corruption, the oppression, the ticks, fleas, dandruff, the smell; they will all go with the elephant!
Police commissioner General Augustine Chihuri told the top brass in the ZRP to ensure Zanu-PF wins the upcoming elections. He referred, not for the first time, to MDC as “surrogates of the imperialists that should never rule this country. If you are not going to support Zanu-PF, you are not fit to be wearing the uniform and its decorated medals.
“The time to leave is now, if you are not going to toe the line,” he said.
There is nothing in the Copac constitution to stop this kind of dictatorial excesses by the Police, Army, CIO, Judiciary and the other State Organs. The dictatorship is very much alive and, thanks to the new found wealth from Marange diamonds, well-funded and motivated to retain its iron grip on power.
“There is nothing wrong in people having ambitions and discussing political issues with their wives,” said Mugabe last week. “They should not, however, tamper with the presidency, it is sacrosanct. These positions come from God, they do not just come.”
Yes the blasphemous arrogance of the man is insufferable but it is, nonetheless, the only show in town, the reality on ground. This Copac constitution has failed to end this dictatorial privilege and restore that decision firmly back in the hands of the people, the electorate.
Many people are saying they will accept this Copac rubbish for the equivalent of removing the ticks when it is getting rid of the elephant, the dictatorship, which they should focus on!
The promise to devolve power to regional Assemblies has been widely supported. Ask yourselves why local councils have made so little difference to people’s lives even when the MDC had won all the Council Seats, for example. The truth is as long as there is so much criminal waste of human and material resources by central government, nothing else can thrive. The regional bodies will suffer the same fate.
The offer to increase gender equality by increasing the number of MPs will not change anything on the ground because it does not address the underlying cause of the nation’s economic and political problems – the corrupt and oppressive dictatorship.
The regional Assemblies and increased number of MPs will no doubt increase the size of the country’s already bloated public sector and the financial burden on the over taxed taxpayers.
“Copac limits the president to a maximum of two terms in office, while the current constitution allows the Head of State to stand for elections as many times as he or she likes,” MDC MP Douglas Mwonzora’s favourite sing-song. Poor Mwonzora, he has carried this Copac rubbish as if he was Leonardo De Vinci carrying the Mona Lisa!
If Zimbabweans were not repeatedly denied their right to free and fair elections all these years then Mugabe would have been kicked out of offices years ago. Mugabe can rightly boast of the “presidency being sacrosanct” even now because this Copac rubbish will do nothing to restore that basic right to free and fair elections to the people. Having failed to secure the people’s right to elect a president of their own choosing MP Mwonzora expects the nation to be thankful for having dictators still imposed on us but – and here is the bargain – each dictator will serve for a maximum period of ten years. Only an idiot would not see they are being short changed here!
MP Mwonzora; we do not want to be ruled by a dictator we are sick and tired of dictators!
The Copac constitution is not perfect, no constitution is perfect. Many have accepted that what is required to make this one work is a president committed to the rule of law, to constitutionalism. No doubt once this Copac rubbish is enacted, Patrick Chinamasa will tell us the President has done nothing to violate the constitution when the people complain about the continued oppression. We will be caught in the classical situation of which came first, the chicken or the egg; the constitution or constitutionalism!
Be assured, all the chickens you see out there have come from eggs and all the eggs were laid by chickens. A good constitution should be clear and unambiguous in setting out the powers, limits, the checks and balances, etc. and it should bear in mind those with the propensity to disregard the rule of law. We are not asking for a perfect constitution but one to end the dictatorial powers of the president and deliver and guarantee basic rights, not just list them! That is not an impossible task!
Some people believe that a NO vote in the referendum will mean the nation will immediately revert back to the Lancaster House Constitution. They are wrong!
The LHC was amended to incorporate the 2008 GPA which, among other things, calls for the reforms to be implemented, the writing of a new democratic constitution and holding of this referendum. If the people therefore vote NO in the referendum, in this case because the reforms were not implemented and the Copac constitution is rubbish, then the GPA is still valid and the calls for these tasks must be carried out properly.
If the people vote to accept the Copac constitution then the LHC and the GPA will expire and have no authority and SADC’s supervisory authority will end too. If Zimbabweans want the reforms implemented then they must vote NO and thus retain the GPA and SADC backing.
Given competent people with the political will the reforms can be implemented and fresh elections held within a year. The alternative is to give up the chance of forcing reforms and go straight into what is set to be another bloody election process in which the Zanu PF dictatorship will continue to exert undemocratic influence.
Tsvangirai and the MDC have set their minds on a yes vote and will not listen to reason. It beggars belief why a party supposedly standing for democratic change should be the one campaigning to close the one chance to bring about that change!
Still every Zimbabwean can play a part in ensuring the nation is saved the horrors of a repeat of 2008. If each and every one of us called five people and ask them in turn to get five others to vote no; the no vote can win the day. The broken limb or lost life which will be saved, could well be yours, a relative, friend or a fellow Zimbabwean!
Do your bit: go and vote NO and get five others to do the same!
To accept this Copac rubbish will be an act of folly, comparable to that made by the people of Troy with equally disastrous consequences. It is the dictatorship we want to get rid of, get rid of the elephant and the ticks and fleas will go with it! We have come such a long way in our fight for freedom and justice; do not quit now! “Nhovo inorema yozvika!”
Remember a NO vote means democratic change in a year! A Yes vote means starting all over again!