ZIMBABWE – Political observers have castigated the MDC faction led by Professor Welshman Ncube for trying to hold the nation at ransom at the official opening of the constitution second all stakeholders’ conference on Monday.
The faction boycotted the official opening of the conference protesting against the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara.
They also did not want DPM Mutambara to address the delegates in his Government capacity. “There is a difference between a point of principle and wanting to humiliate someone. In this case, they just wanted to humiliate Mutambara in the process reducing the nation into a nation of petty people,” said University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Professor Lovemore Madhuku.
“They must accept that the case of their party status is still at the Supreme Court. There is still a legal basis that should have been enough for them to have tolerance.”
Prof Madhuku said DPM Mutambara was still recognised as DPM, a capacity he used in his address. He said it was hypocritical for the MDC to claim that they did not want Prof Mutambara to speak when they attend Cabinet and other Government businesses where DPM Mutambara would be present.
“The fact that they participated during the discussions show that they recognised that the conference had been opened. The fact that they participated in the discussions proves that they endorsed every aspect of the ceremony including the opening,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer in the Department of International Relations Dr Charity Manyeruke said the faction should have put national interest ahead of personal interests. “It is very unfortunate that Professor Ncube’s party behaved like that because this was a national process that did not deserve such actions.
“What is also obvious is that differences may have been there but it did not stop the national process despite one person boycotting. “Leaders should understand they are there to represent the people and put petty issues aside. It was not necessary to try and hold the nation at ransom,” said Dr Manyeruke.
Political analyst and media lecturer Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri said DPM Mutambara was speaking in his Government capacity. “If they thought DPM Mutambara was speaking on behalf of the party, they should have used another platform to contest that than trying to do it when a national process is under way. Doing it at the conference is just trying to spoil everything,” said Dr Mhiripiri.
However, MDC director for policy and research Mr Qhubani Moyo said their actions were warranted because other Global Political Agreement partners were disrespecting his party.
“The Copac process is a political process and the principals have been defined clearly even at the Sadc level that is why in Copac, the cochairperson Mr Edward Mkhosi reports to Prof Ncube, which is the same with the management committee and Jomic. They all report to Prof Ncube but Mutambara is not representing anyone.
“Our party cannot accept a situation where Mutambara is imposed on us as a way of embarrassing us when he was not representing anyone,” said Mr Moyo. He said his party had no authority to bar DPM Mutambara from attending Cabinet because they were not the ones who appointed him.
However, Copac cochairpersons, Cde Paul Mangwana (ZanuPF) and his MDCT counterpart Mr Douglas Mwonzora dismissed the boycott as insignificant. Meanwhile, the president of Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn (M.K.D) Dr Simba Makoni challenged a statement by President Mugabe that the three principals in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) had the final say on the making of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
Addressing delegates at the official opening of the conference on Monday President Mugabe said inter alia ….. “Ivo vatatu vamuri kuona ava, tisu takanyora ichi chinonzi Global Agreement. Ndisu zvakare takati kumember dzedu dzeParliament’ hapana anoti kwete, mese munosungirwa kuvhota (in parliament for constitutional amendment number 19). Zvino idemocracy iyoyo? … I am saying this because sometimes parliament thinks that it is full of sovereignty that it should control the acts of the Principals, hazviite”.
In a statement Dr Makoni said President Mugabe’s views were contrary to provisions of Article VI of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which stipulated that “parties shall set up a Select Committee of Parliament, composed of representatives of the parties…”
He argued that the three GPA leaders were not the only people in Zimbabwe. “The import of the President’s remarks is that the people’s views do not matter at all. M.K.D maintains that the baseline of constitutionalism is at the individual level, in the heart and mind of every citizen; irrespective of their station in life.
The country may have the best constitution in the world, but as long as such constitution or other laws are not respected and obeyed, especially by those claiming to be leaders, such document counts for nothing,” he said.