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Mukosi on rules for our rulers
Lance Guma, SW Radio Africa
April 12, 2010
SW Radio Africa journalist
Lance Guma speaks to Edward Mukosi, one of the co-chairs of the
Constitutional Parliamentary Committee. The constitution making
process has hit another snag over complex questionnaires for the
outreach. And, after the training of rapporteurs, it was expected
the outreach programme would begin last weekend, but those hopes
were dampened when it was announced donors were not willing to fund
the entire process on their own.
Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Rules for our Rulers,
the programme where we look at constitutional issues. This week
I've one of the co-chairpersons of the Constitutional Parliamentary
Committee Mr Edward Mukosi. Thank you for joining us on the programme
Mukosi: Thank you.
OK, now we understand the constitution making exercise has been
bogged down again by a fresh dispute so we would like you maybe
help us clarify things for our listeners. When is the outreach going
Currently I cannot give you an exact date when we shall start but
the most important thing that you should know is that the delay
is caused by lack of money. We don't have money to finance the outreach
so the Minister of Finance has promised he's still looking for some
money, the donors have actually also raised some money but they
would like to fund certain aspects of the outreach, not the whole
as it should be. So we are bogged down on the issue of money.
Guma: OK, now we understand
four million (US) has already been received and you need roughly
8.5 million. People are wondering why can't you use the money that's
there and maybe look for the remainder when maybe you are halfway
through the outreach?
Mukosi: I presume you
are talking of the four million that has been received by UNDP?
Mukosi: Yah we are having
problems with that money because UNDP is not prepared to fund all
the aspects of the programme. They are only prepared to fund accommodation
and food for the outreach programme, as for the subsistence allowance,
they are not prepared to fund so we are having problems in that
respect that the monies that are there, are selective in terms of
Guma: Where is the remainder
of the money supposed to be coming from? I take it, is government
meant to pick up the other bill for the funding?
Mukosi: Yah the government
is prepared but currently the government has no money. The Minister
has promised that as soon as he gets money, he'll be throwing every
bit into the process. So really you are talking of a government
that has got a myriad of responsibilities when it comes to using
money, so the constitution making process is part of the wide range
of needy areas in terms of government funding.
Guma: OK because there
has obviously been worries that ZANU PF is not serious about this
process and might be delaying it, so this is not one of those scenarios
where we can blame ZANU PF for the delay?
Mukosi: At the moment
I don't really put the blame on anybody because as much as the MDC,
ZANU PF has shown its interest in seeing the programme going through
so if you want to know the position of ZANU in terms of its share
of the delay, you better talk to (Paul) Mangwana but as far as I
understand all of us are committed to make this programme go forward.
OK last week the training of rapporteurs was concluded but we understand
from the Standard newspaper that there is fresh disagreement particularly
over the questions that are going to be used to be part of the Questionnaire,
one of those questions which is, 'should the founding principles
of the constitution recognise the irreversibility of the process
of land reform', and questions like that. Can you tell us about
this dispute, what's the problem?
Mukosi: Ah well you may
call it a dispute but really as far as I know the rapporteurs were
trained to sharpen their understanding of how they should be using
this tool, the Questionnaire. They were not expected to change or
put any content into the Questionnaire. Their's was to understand
it so that they can use it when they go out to interact with the
populace, so whoever decided to challenge the content of the Questionnaire
its really unfortunate, that person must go the parties that were
involved in crafting the constitution. Mind you, the content of
that constitution (questionnaire) came from the first All Stakeholders
Conference which was held some time about four months ago and again
we had a workshop where further inputs were made into the Questionnaire,
so that these people that were being trained, they are not trained
to change the content but to understand how to use the tool when
collecting the data from the people.
Guma: But you would agree
Mr Mukosi looking at these type of questions, they are very ambiguous
and very difficult to answer because they are so broad. Is that
not a problem?
Mukosi: Yah unfortunately
I'm not a lawyer by training but from the lawyers when they explained
it to us how these questions are going to be used, you begin to
appreciate that if they are administered in the manner they were
crafted, they will help the interviewers to get the answers to the
questions in a way that will help in the crafting of the final document.
Guma: Explain one thing
for us - are these questions going to be asked of the ordinary people
in the rural areas, I mean who are these questions directed at because
they seem to be very complex?
Mukosi: The questions
really, the questions will be asked by the rapporteur, by the chair
of the group, there will be 70 groups and the members of the group
will be helping the chairman how to explain the questions so that
they actually draw out the answers that will represent the feeling
of the people. It's unfortunate that you can ask a direct question
but to many people it may mean different things so in that respect
the ambiguity you are speaking of it depends on which area or what
aspect do you understand the question and that is why we need the
rapporteurs to fully understand so that they can guide these people
by probing the people to produce what they want to get out of this.
Last week the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network tried to host a constitutional meeting
in Mashonaland Central and after earlier been given permission by
the District Administrator, we understand the governor for Mashonaland
Central blocked that meeting. Are these sort of reports not a worry
for you before you begin this outreach that probably you might face
resistance on the ground from some of these militias that we are
being told are being deployed countrywide?
Mukosi: Yah if that is
the case it's really worrying because we got the understanding from
the government that all the government apparatus will be at our
disposal to facilitate the interaction with the populace. If ever
there's anybody who harbours the feeling of using the militia to
disrupt the process then that person will be bear full responsibility
for the failure of the people of Zimbabwe to come up with their
people driven constitution because the idea is not to disturb the
process but the idea is to facilitate the progression of the process.
Guma: Now we know last
time the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee requested police
protection and police services, the police commissioner, Augustine
Chihuri demanded huge sums of money, I think it ran into millions
of US dollars - what's the status of that issue - are the police
still demanding payment for their services?
Mukosi: That request
even came to us as the Select Committee and Management Committee.
We made it clear that we are not expecting policemen to go beyond
their normal duties. There are policemen throughout the country
and in an area where we shall be holding meetings we expect the
local police force to cover those meetings and to make sure that
there is peace and tranquillity whereby people can express their
views without any fear of reprisals thereafter.
And just give our listeners a sense of how this massive programme
is going to be done, you've got 210 rapporteurs, we understand all
the members of Parliament and all the Senators are going to be involved
- how are these teams going to be divided countrywide?
In total we have got 70 teams, each team consists, of the 70, consist
of about ten people and these teams will be deployed to the provinces;
in a province there may be about six teams and while they are out
there they will spread themselves into the provinces, reaching out
to the wards. A ward may have about three meetings at which the
teams will explain the content of the Questionnaire and start soliciting
answers from the public by way of asking questions, those questions
that we are talking about. So the, and we think the process will
be done within a period of 65 days.
Guma: My final question
for you Mr Mukosi, I know you need to go into another meeting, do
you think Zimbabwe will have a new constitution before elections
next year? Are you on course to have this exercise completed in
Mukosi: Given the fact
that we have got adequate monies and there is willpower from all
those that are concerned, the people are waiting for us to reach
them out and get as much as we can from them. Given that environment,
if everything is in place I hope we shall have a constitution but
if there is a development whereby we don't have sufficient funding
and people are not cooperative and they are setting up militias
then I'm afraid the process may be delayed for some time to come.
Guma: That was Edward
Mukosi, he's one of the co-chairpersons of the Constitutional Parliamentary
Committee joining us on our programme, Rules for Our Rulers. Mr
Mukosi thank you so much for your time.
Mukosi: Thank you, thank
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