Tsvangirai rubbishes Mugabe

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MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday dismissed President Robert Mugabe’s claims that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) does not call for a new constitution before fresh elections.

His remarks flew in the face of Mugabe’s utterances at the Chiefs’ Council annual conference in Bulawayo last week claiming he would unilaterally push for elections under the old constitution.

This also comes amid reports that Copac has outstretched its initial $21 million budget and the constitution-making process is now set to gobble $45 million.

“I want to stress that as government, we cannot fund and spend our energies and resources on a product that we are not keen to use,” Tsvangirai said.

“We need a new constitution. While political parties may hold their opinions, as government, we are prepared to see this process through as well as the other political and electoral reforms that are key in creating a conducive and peaceful environment in Zimbabwe.”

In an address to Parliament, Tsvangirai said the wobbly inclusive government’s lifespan would only end when elections are held. He also said corrupt Cabinet ministers must face justice.

Tsvangirai said:“I have told ministers that I will be evaluating their performance and making it public through this monthly report to Parliament, and this is the last time I am making a monthly statement in this House without naming and shaming those ministries that are either underperforming or have chosen to give scant attention to the implementation of agreed programmes and policies – and this is not to embarrass anyone but to enable Parliament to hold the Executive to account.”

He added: “Any corrupt person should face justice regardless of whether they are MPs or ministers and we hope that there won’t be efforts to slow down the wheels of justice or to protect corrupt people from being exposed or arrested.”

Turning to the energy sector, Tsvangirai urged top government officials, ministers and MPs to pay their Zesa bills or risk being switched off regardless of their social status.

“It is important to sit down with Zesa and come up with a payment plan. My electricity bill at my Strathaven house was $5 000 and power was almost cut off until I rushed to pay up and so you must also pay your bills,” he told MPs.

The Premier noted there were still “bottlenecks” in the voters’ roll that hindered people from registering as voters.

He said people wishing to register as voters suffered impediments such as prohibitive costs of getting new identity cards after losing them as they were made to pay up to $5 to get a replacement.

Tsvangirai also told Parliament Mugabe had decided to take part in peace prayers initiated by churches in the country’s provinces.

“Both of us pledged to support this process and the President assured me that he will find time to attend these prayer meetings so that we all continue to speak publicly in the promotion of peace in the country. I urge (MPs) to call for these prayers in their constituencies and secretaries-general of political parties to put in place mechanisms to ensure that the peace indaba cascades to the lowermost structures of our political parties,” he said.

On sanctions, Tsvangirai said: “Everyone should be removed from the list of sanctions, provided we do not repeat what made us to be on the list.”