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  • Inclusive government - Index of articles

  • Understanding and embracing the new dispensation in Zimbabwe
    Arthur Mutambara
    March 25, 2009

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    Mr. Speaker, Sir, Cabinet Ministers, Honorable members of Parliament I rise to make my maiden speech in this august house. We are at a stage in our country where we are building bridges. We are at that juncture where we have found each other. We have come together; we must stay together, work together and deliver on the promise of our revolution. This is national interest time. We have embarked on an irreversible process of inclusiveness with the clear understanding that the GPA of 15th September 2008 is the only workable arrangement in our country. There is unprecedented unanimity among our citizens on this position. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this was clearly amplified by the vote in this august house for Constitutional Amendment no. 19, where 184 out 184 members endorsed it, and the 72 out of 72 Senators did the same. As I present my views, let me emphasize that my intention is to build, and not to destroy; unify, and not disunite. However, I will seek to challenge us as Zimbabweans by speaking frankly on the matters we are facing. Is it not that they say a problem realized is half solved? Moreover this august house is the distinguished arena of both rational disputation and robust democratic dialogue. Consequently, I will be remiss in the discharge of my duties if I did not deliver a no-holds-barred maiden speech. There will be no prisoners taken today.

    Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government that I am part of, this inclusive institution, is a creature of abnormal circumstances. We are a product of the SADC dialogue process. But why did we have to negotiate? Honorable Members, lest we forget, we were forced to talk to each other in this manner because we had some problems with our elections, to put it politely. If we are to be candid and brazen about it, we have to accept that we had fraudulent elections on March 29th 2008. What is worse is that the run-off Presidential election on June 27th 2008 was a complete farce, a nullity. Understanding this background allows us to clearly articulate the agenda of our inclusive government. The sum total of our mandate is to ensure that at the next elections Zimbabweans can vote freely and fairly. This means that creating conditions for free and fair polls is the overarching duty and obligation of this inclusive government. The question is then how do you achieve this? This is done by carrying out radical political and economic reforms underpinned by five key activities; healing the nation, adopting a new constitution, resolving the humanitarian crisis, recovering and stabilizing the economy, and transforming our economy. Our people and country went through trauma and brutality in the June 27th 2008 elections. The national healing process must achieve a never again framework. Never again should Zimbabweans slaughter each other over political differences. Never again should Zimbabweans question each other's patriotism because of political affiliation. Most of the challenges that confront us as a nation are due to a dysfunctional, ineffective and undemocratic constitution. In adopting a new constitution, it is important that the process of developing it is as important as the final contents. Hence, this inclusive government seeks to facilitate the development of a truly people driven, democratic constitution, with total buy in, and ownership by the entirety of civic society, in particular the NCA, ZCTU, the student movement, the churches, the business community, and other political parties not involved in the GPA. By definition a constitution is a consensus document, and not a contested piece of paper produced by three political parties. In addition to the constitutional reforms, there must be other political reforms including the removal of AIPPA and POSA from our statutes and drastic media reforms. Our local media should be sufficiently empowered to report freely without bias. The international media, such as BBC and CNN must be immediately allowed back into the country. On economic recovery and stabilization we are stepping in the right direction with STERP. Beyond recovery and stabilization we must seek to transform our economy through establishing a long term economic vision and strategy. Let us lay the foundation for this ambition during the tenure of this government.

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