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Talks, dialogue, negotiations and GNU - Post June 2008 "elections" - Index of articles
September 25, 2008
Veritas is re-launching Peace Watch at a significant time in Zimbabwe’s
history, with the signing of the Power-Sharing Agreement promising
a political settlement between conflicting political parties. The
work of rebuilding our country to ensure lasting peace is the task
ahead of us and must start now with all Zimbabweans playing a part
instead of leaving it to the political parties who, in spite of
the “Agreement” , are locked in further negotiations.
To quote Eisenhower: “I like to believe that people in the
long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments.
Indeed, I think the people want peace so much that one of these
days governments had better get out of the way and let them have
On the 15th September 2008 a Power-Sharing Agreement
Between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
and the Two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Formations, On
Resolving the Challenges Facing Zimbabwe, was signed.
There is still an air of uncertainty on how it will work. There
have been conflicting opinions and media reports on how and when
a new government will be formed. There are delays in resolving these
issues, and the provisions of the Agreement will not be legally
binding until they have been translated into Constitutional amendments
or changes in existing legislation. It is unfortunate that the confusion
over establishing a new government has overshadowed the Agreement’s
other objectives of putting an end to the political violence and
restoring the country to a normal footing.
While politicians are still negotiating and lawyers still drafting,
there are positive aspects of the Agreement that can be used as
tools for peace- building right now. What is important is the context
of the Agreement, in whose spirit and principles any political compromises
should be reached and any new legislation prepared.
In Zimbabwe law the Preamble to an Act sets out the objectives and
background, but more importantly if there is any doubt on how the
individual clauses of the law are interpreted, the Preamble is used
to resolve any ambiguity. In Constitutions of most countries, the
values set out in the Preamble colour the whole document. The same
pertains in international conventions – the preambles are
the framework in which they are interpreted.
We need to hold politicians to the intentions set out in the Preamble
to the Agreement: to build a democratic and just, inclusive society
free of fear, violence, patronage, corruption and to ensure a better
life for all Zimbabweans.
The Preamble to the Agreement refers to:
shared determination to uphold, defend and sustain … national
unity… a nation where all citizens respect and, therefore,
enjoy equal protection of the law and have equal opportunity to
compete and prosper in all spheres of life.”
an end to the polarisation, divisions, conflict and intolerance
that has characterised Zimbabwean politics and society in recent
shared commitment to re-orient our attitudes towards respect for
the Constitution and all national laws, the rule of law, observance
of Zimbabwe's national institutions, symbols and national events.”
rights of all Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation
to benefit from and participate in all national programmes and
events freely without let or hindrance.”
and acknowledging that the values of justice, fairness, openness,
tolerance, equality, non-discrimination and respect of all persons
without regard to race, class, gender, ethnicity, language, religion,
political opinion, place of origin or birth are the bedrock of
our democracy and good governance.”
society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hatred, patronage,
corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness, transparency,
dignity and equality.”
historical obligation and need to reach a solution that will allow
us to put Zimbabwe first and give the people a genuine chance
of rebuilding and reconstructing their livelihoods.”
must be held to these principles, values and obligations
If every organisation could print out at least the Preamble, which
is clear and unambiguous, and distribute it widely it might help
mobilise people to insist that those wielding power honour the spirit
of the agreement. The message contained in the Preamble does not
seem to have reached all Zimbabweans – in particular, security
forces, party youth and youth militias. This is evidenced by reports
of continuing state or inter-party violence.
Continuing violence and intimidation
Students: In Bindura, police officers invaded Bindura
University campus, "armed to the teeth", and arrested
10 students protesting for a "conducive" learning environment.
Three students have accused police of beating them while in custody.
Teachers: The president of the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe was arrested in Masvingo on Thursday.
Returning homeowners: Some 61 families attempting
to reclaim their homes, from which they were expelled in the June
election-related violence, met with resistance although accompanied
by a court officer and the Mbare MP. While the dispute was being
heard at Matapi police station, witnesses said two truckloads of
ZANU-PF militia invaded the police station singing songs denouncing
the MDC and beating party members while the police looked on passively.
People celebrating the power-sharing deal: Police
arrested around 25 MDC supporters in Buhera for celebrating the
signing of the power-sharing deal last Monday.
A villager in Zaka had his home burnt down by ZANU PF supporters
on Saturday evening. A report has been made to the police but no
arrests have been made.
A man wearing an MDC T-shirt in a Mabvuku shopping centre was assaulted
by more than 10 ZANU PF supporters
Farmers: there have been fresh farm invasions in Manicaland, with
at least 4 farms in the Vumba area being taken over. Another 2 farms
in Old Mutare have also been invaded.
Man shot at and wounded: MDC said that suspected ZANU-PF militia
in the Buhera South constituency on Sunday shot and wounded a MDC
activist in the leg.
A street vendor wearing an MDC T-shirt ended up in hospital. He
said of his assailants "They told me that they were going to
continue attacking MDC supporters until Robert Mugabe tells them
International Day of Peace: 21st September
Extract from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s message
“This year, the International Day of Peace takes on special
meaning. This is the year we also mark the sixtieth anniversary
of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We
know that human rights are essential to peace.…There is so
much to unite around on this International Day of Peace…I
call on world leaders and peoples around the world to join forces
against conflict, poverty and hunger, and for all human rights for
all. Together, let us send a powerful signal for peace that will
be read, heard and felt around the world.”
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