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Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis
opposition leader aims to appease worrying supporters, says analyst
Clottey, Voice of America (VOA)
October 01, 2007
the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional
a senior political science lecturer at the University
of Zimbabwe, says the leader of the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) is trying to allay the fears of citizens
who suspect the opposition party is making deals with President
Robert Mugabe led ZANU-PF government. John Makumbe says the demands
made by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for a level political playing
field and an end to violence against MDC supporters is to re-establish
the credibility of his party.
Saturday during the eight-year celebration of the MDC that the party's
participation in next year's national elections would depend on
negotiations at the Southern African Development Community-sponsored
peace talks with President Robert Mugabe's government. The talks
are meant to resolve the political and economic crisis facing the
country. From the capital Harare, John Makumbe tells reporter Peter
Clottey that all is not lost for the opposition MDC.
he is trying to backtrack now. He is trying to appease largely the
people who are suspicious that some deals are being made with ZANU-PF,
which might result in an unsatisfactory situation developing in
2008 because people do not trust Robert Mugabe at all. They know
him to be a cunning fox and so they would really like the MDC to
be on level with them," Makumbe pointed out.
He said looking
at the historical perspective of negotiations between the ruling
ZANU-PF party and the opposition, the demands made by the opposition
would more than likely not yield any positive results for the MDC.
known ZANU-PF to be very difficult in virtually all the benchmarks,
particularly, the leveling of the political playing field, and free
and fair elections, the composition of the Zimbabwe electoral commission
and so forth are going to be very difficult for ZANU-PF to acquiesce
to, to agree to make any substantive changes," he said.
there is a chance the MDC might feel deceived into agreeing to a
18-constitution amendment proposed by ZANU-PF in parliament.
very likely that now that amendment number 18 has been passed, ZANU-PF
could very easily turn around and say nothing else would change.
And if that happens the MDC would be stuck in the middle,"
He said there is some truth in Tsvangirai's assertion, that elections
in recent times have not been free and fair.
"In the past, elections have largely been pre-determined. That
is really a polite way to say they have been rigged. And yes, in
the past, the election results have been stolen, and there is no
guarantee now that the 2008 elections would not be stolen in like
manner. What Morgan Tsvangirai is asking for the benchmark is that
the conditions and the terms prevailing circumstances in the political
playing field must be such that a fair and free and transparent
election process would actually occur. And that I can assure you
ZANU-PF does not cherish such a development because it knows that
under free and fair conditions it will lose the elections. And ZANU-PF
is not in fact preparing to lose the election," he noted.
the current SADC-mediated talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC can
only yield positive results for the MDC if the ruling party agrees
to the demands of change the opposition is asking for.
if the talks result in the benchmarks outlined by Morgan Tsvangirai
being met by ZANU-PF, then the talks would have really achieved
something. But my fear is that Robert Mugabe is going to twist and
turn, and I believe he is setting a huge trap for the MDC, and they
are walking right into it. They walked right into it by voting in
favor of amendment number 18 and I think they have made several
other concessions including agreeing to where no new constitution
would be written before these elections. And I think that is quite
unfortunate," Makumbe stated.
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