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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Speech at the Second All-Stakeholders Conference
    Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

    October 22, 2012

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    His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. R. G. Mugabe
    Deputy Presidents Amai Mujuru and Hon. John Landa Nkomo
    Deputy Prime Ministers Hon. Thokozani Khupe and Prof. Arthur Mutambara
    The President of the MDC, Prof. Welshman Ncube
    The Speaker of Parliament Hon. Lovemore Moyo
    The President of the Senate Amai Edna Madzongwe
    Cabinet Ministers here present
    Senators and Members of Parliament
    Esteemed delegates
    Members of the Diplomatic corps
    Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to join you at this momentous occasion.

    Today, we are on the threshold of history as we mark an important step towards the making of our own Constitution. The importance of today's occasion must not be lost in the needles pursuit of petty party interests at the expense of what is good for this country and future generations.

    Today we mark a giant leap forward towards fulfilling and implementing one of the key reforms that we agreed under Article 6 of the GPA, which is now part of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

    Today we meet again as stakeholders; as political parties and as civic society, to participate in this national discourse that is set to make a positive impact on our society. The Constitution-making process is an exercise that started way back when we sought the views of the people. It started when we collectively traversed the urban townships, the rural villages, the farming areas, the mining towns and even the diaspora as we sought to hear and input the people's views in this national charter.

    As a country we have invested so much in this process, in both financial and material terms. We have spent years engaged in a seemingly endless debate on the Constitution and we have an opportunity to put this process on the home-stretch to a referendum.

    The guarantors of this transitional arrangement, SADC, have urged us at almost every summit to ensure the successful completion of this important process and the Second All-Stakeholders conference we hold today must ensure that the process moves forward.

    The last two SADC summits in Luanda and Maputo urged us to complete this process as an important condition ahead of the next election, which must be free, fair and credible. The guarantors, and us as the Principals, want this process expedited and done in a peaceful manner.

    The Constitution-making process is greater than the MDC, Zanu PF or Mavambo. It is a national exercise for posterity; far much greater than the personalities and individual interests of Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe, Welshman Ncube or Arthur Mutambara.

    We are not doing this for ourselves, but we are trying to create a people's charter; a people's contract with their Government; a Constitution which knows no political party but which ensures that the democracy and the freedoms that so many fought and died for are realised. Isn't it shameful that 32 years after independence, we are still using a ceasefire document as a Constitution, albeit with 19 amendments?

    As a nation, this exercise underpins our belief in Constitutionalism and the rule of law. It is evidence that we wish to set guidelines on how people should be governed. It reflects our wish for legitimate governments that work in accordance with the rule of law. We cannot therefore be in contradiction with ourselves by preaching a coup or a military subversion of the people's will.

    This process shows that as a nation we have chosen Constitutionalism and not militarism; and therefore our deportment, our utterances, our demeanour must exhibit the higher values of chastity and democracy that we aspire for our country.

    I and the party I represent are fully committed to the Constitution-making process and its successful and peaceful conclusion.

    We have discussed this as Principals and we have all agreed that this is a people's process. For the record, this process is being done in accordance with Article 6 of the GPA, which makes it clear that this is a Parliament-driven process in which the Principals and the Executive must play a minimum part. We have no intention whatsoever, at least on my part, to tamper or meddle with the people's views.

    So we must be peaceful and allow this process to be come to a peaceful and logical conclusion. After all, the people will reserve their right to speak for themselves in a referendum.

    Mr Chairman, the role played by the stakeholders in the process so far cannot be overemphasized.

    The people were consulted on what they wanted included in the new constitution and their views play a pivotal role in the process of coming up with a new Constitution. Zimbabweans from across the social, political and cultural divide were given an opportunity to participate in the crafting of the supreme law of the land.

    As one of the Principals in the Government and a leader of a political party in Parliament, I would like to commend the Parliamentary Select Committee for the hard work that has gone into the process of drafting a new constitution. While a lot of work has already been covered, they still need the support of the nation at large to successfully complete the process.

    We need to stand united and with a common purpose to ensure that the process is carried through to its logical conclusion. The success of this conference will mean that the remaining stages will then be completed successfully as well, starting with the debate in Parliament right through to the Referendum.

    In all this, I would like Zimbabweans to be tolerant of each other's views and to work towards the good of the nation.

    We should remember that the important national process of constitution-making is about the future of our country. It transcends party political considerations, and therefore your deliberations must be national in character, tolerant of other people's views and above all, you must do your business in peace and harmony.

    We do not want a repeat of the scenes of the first All Stakeholders Conference. We have certainly matured politically and I hope that this maturity will be exhibited during this conference. It is important to see beyond our differences to build a better Zimbabwe for all.

    Zimbabweans have put their trust in the Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee and we should give this Committee all the support it needs to ensure the success of the constitution-making process.

    I wish to conclude that peace is an important ingredient. Your deliberations must show maturity and must exhibit our true Zimbabwean culture.

    We are a peace-loving people and our behaviour at this conference must showcase our high standards as a nation and as a people.

    I wish to conclude by wishing you all a successful and a peaceful conference.

    I Thank You.

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