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Comment from ZWNews
September 19, 2007
There you have
it. Yesterday, without even token resistance from the opposition,
amendment to the constitution - the 18th - sailed
unopposed another stage closer to becoming law. The opposition,
of course, lacks the parliamentary votes to block the Bill-s
progress. But by failing to put up even ultimately futile arguments
against the Bill in parliament, they have done precisely what the
government desires. They have begun the process - however unwittingly
- of cooperating in their own demise.
Bill contains many cosmetic
changes labelled by the ruling party as concessions to the opposition
negotiators: alterations here and there to the initially proposed
increased number of constituencies, MPs, and senators, new rules
on the demarcation of constituencies, a reduction in the number
of appointed MPs. But the power of the president to name his successor
- through his party-s majority in parliament - remains included
in this odious Bill. And glaring by its omission is any mention
of the comprehensively rigged voters- roll, the totally biased
electoral apparatus and election courts, and the various Zanu PF-controlled
militias that make any talk of free and fair elections a sick joke.
And all this
based on a nod and a wink that the ruling party - among the
least trustworthy administrations on the planet - may relax the
effects of POSA,
and all the other draconian legislation which has so effectively
denied political choice to Zimbabwean voters ever since the referendum
in February 2000. The opposition says that the decision not to oppose
was to show goodwill in the continuing South African-brokered talks
with the government. But bets are now off as to whether their show
of goodwill will be tossed aside - it is now just a question
of when. And when the opposition does cry foul, before or after
next year-s elections, their behaviour yesterday will be thrown
back in their faces. "You agreed to the constitutional amendments,"
the governments of both Zimbabwe and South Africa will say. They
won-t have an answer. They will have been co-opted into legitimising
the Zanu PF regime.
SADC and the AU will
trumpet the elections as being free and fair, despite all the evidence
to the contrary. Mbeki will travel the world saying, with tongue
firmly in cheek, to anyone who will listen: "How many elections
does Mugabe have to win in order for you to accept that he is the
properly elected president of Zimbabwe?" And the repression
and economic decline will continue. Does nobody remember the brief
interregnum between Smith and Mugabe, when Abel Muzorewa was a very
token prime minister? As it turned out, his power was illusory,
and the violence and economic slide got worse and worse during his
tenure. This constitutional agreement will confer even less power
on the opposition than was allowed to Muzorewa. Welcome to Muzorewa-lite.
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