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Welcome to Muzorewa-lite
Comment from ZWNews
September 19, 2007

There you have it. Yesterday, without even token resistance from the opposition, yet another 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.

The amending 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, AIPPA, 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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