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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis
on Constitution Amendment 18 Bill
at House of Assembly September 18, 2007
the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional
Sir, it is with a heavy heart and a weighted soul that l rise to
make this contribution to the second reading debate on constitutional
amendment no 18.
l am fully alive to the weight of responsibility that has been placed
on the shoulders of our generation and in particular those of our
Sir, as l speak now our country is in a serious economic and political
It is an economy
that has sustained ten years of negative growth rates, a phenomenon
unknown to countries that have not gone through a physical war.
It is an economy
that has seen millions of fellow Zimbabweans flee the border to
unwelcoming, xenophobic, cruel diaspora where our people are subjected
to degrading living conditions.
It is an economy
that has seen the reduction of our life expectancy to 37 for men
and 34 years for women and has resulted in an unsustainable and
below par lifestyle of our people.
difficulties have been interpreted differently by our people. On
one hand are those such as myself and the party l belong to, who
believe that at the core of our current crisis lies the unfinished
business of our national liberation struggle.
removed a settler colonial minority regime, it did not deal with
three key issues.
Firstly it did
not extend freedom to the majority in line with the ideals of our
did not deal with structural economic issues therefore failing to
provide for its people.
quite critically it did not deal with the issue of land, agrarian
reform and land redistribution.
The post colonial
Zimbabwean state regrettably failed to address these issues significantly
in the first decade of independence.
At the same
time contradictions began to emerge and a gap was established between
the ideals of national liberation and the post colonial rulers.
In our view,
nationalism simply became exhausted, creating the condition for
the inevitable emergence of a genuine opposition political party,
Thus the MDC
emerged purely and simply out of the resultant crisis of governance.
On the other
hand there are those who believe that our problems are not internal
that our problems were created by some grand imperialistic countries
whose agenda is to reverse the gains of our independence.
to accept our diverse views, the need for coexistence and tolerance
has created a polarized, vicious, and intolerant society.
heavily divided between ZANU PF and the MDC, between ZANU PF and
ZANU PF, and between the MDC and the MDC.
at war with each other. Violence, corruption, vindictiveness, mistrust,
greed, patronage, jealousy, and rumor mongering has become the mainstay
of our nation.
It is in this
context that we welcomed the SADC heads of state resolution in Dar
Salaam of the 29 th of March 2007, as being important and revolutionary.
That resolution acknowledged the fact that there was a missing link
in Zimbabwe, and this was dialogue of its own people and a mutual
recognition of each others presence and legitimacy.
That ZANU PF
among other formations exists as a legitimate entity that played
a critical role in liberating our country cannot and should not
be put in issue.
the MDC exist as a genuine social liberation movement with the legitimacy
and blessing of millions of Zimbabweans cannot and should not be
put in issue.
it cannot and should not be put in issue that none of these formations
is a sellout or is more Zimbabwean than the other.
We are both
stakeholders and citizens of this lovely and beautiful land called
With this in
mind, the dialogue that has taken place and is still taking place
has gone a long way toward deconstructing the matrix of intolerance
and attrition in our society and hopefully this process is irreversible.
Our party is committed to this process.
At the core
of that dialogue, in our view, is the need to deal with the issue
of legitimacy in our society. In our view, that can only come through
the introduction of a people driven constitution and free and fair
Of course the
issues of repressive legislation such as POSA and AIPPA are critical,
so too are the issues of the militarized state and the opaque management
of the electoral process.
These are all
issues covered in the agenda agreed to by the negotiators on the
19 th of June 2007.
We remain committed
to the principle of a new people driven constitution and a transparent
and open process.
and constituencies out there must know that we will never betray
this principle; however we are alive to the ongoing discussions
and the progress that has been made so far.
It is in this
regard, that as a confidence building measure we take the bold decision
of not standing in the way of constitution amendment number 18 as
amended by the negotiating teams.
In making this
decision we are in no way abandoning any of our principles or are
we betraying any cause, all we are saying is that at this point
in our history the country is crying out for bold and decisive leadership
and not populist grandstanding.
We are assured
negotiations are still ongoing and that they will deliberate on
the many issues that are still outstanding in this proposed constitutional
For this reason
and subject to the inclusion of the agreed positions on the following:
- a comprehensive
Bill of Rights,
- an all inclusive
- limits to
presidential terms of office,
- an independent
electoral commission reporting to parliament, and above all an
irrevocable commitment to the overhaul of security, media, and
electoral laws, we are not standing in the way of the tabling
of the 18 th amendment.
that our position is predicated on our view that this should be
regarded as the first step towards a holistic resolution of the
sir, we are aware that a commitment has been made to a public process
of making a constitution by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans - a process
that we fully endorse.
Our people out
there need food, jobs, hospitals, and therefore we as politicians
cannot decimate those aspirations.
Mr. Speaker Sir, history will judge our actions one day, but l am
confident that we as MDC will be able to look history in the face
and say we were right.
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