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Tsvangirai must remain steadfast


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai should remain steadfast in his demands for crucial reforms before going to polls which President Robert Mugabe and hardliners in Zanu PF want to stampede Zimbabweans into this year.

In his address to journalists on Monday in the capital Tsvangirai exhibited courage to take head-on Mugabe and his hangers-on on what the nation must do before elections. He has a clear understanding that the only roadmap to free and fair elections is the full consummation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) he signed together with Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

It is absurd and downright dissembling for Mugabe and his spin doctors, chief among them Jonathan Moyo, to claim that we can go to elections without a new constitution when the GPA is categorical that polls would only take place after a new supreme law has been enacted.

Zanu PF’s social engineering has scaled new heights with the Moyos of this world telling anyone who cares to listen to their propaganda that we should park the current constitution-making process and go for polls under the Lancaster House constitution plus its 18 amendments.

A thorough examination of the GPA shows that there is no room for parking of the constitution-making process or rejection of the draft through a referendum. When the agreement was hammered out it was envisaged that Zanu PF and the two MDC formations — the parties with majority support in the country — would come up with an uncontested draft constitution that they will back.
Once a draft supreme law is in place Zanu PF and the MDC formations have one option as envisaged by the GPA — support the draft constitution.

No election can take place in Zimbabwe without a new constitution in place because it must encompass democratic ethos that would guarantee free and fair elections. It is this same constitution that would determine the architecture of our Parliament, the professionalism of the security sector and determine the composition of an independent electoral commission as well as laying the basis for all independent commissions.

Tsvangirai and the MDC formations have to remain steadfast on the demand for reforms for the good of the nation. These are clearly what the nation and Sadc want.

The reforms are captured in the GPA and these are: the completion of the constitution-making process and the referendum; the completion of the drafting of a new voters’ roll; the completion of media reform; the completion of legislative reform; the conclusion of outstanding issues at the dialogue table on security sector realignment and staffing of Zec; the compliance by Zimbabwe with the Sadc electoral guidelines on free and fair elections; the putting in place of mechanisms to ensure that violence will not be a factor in the said election.

The prevailing situation in the country is a loud clarion call for enactment of these reforms. The voters’ roll is a shambles, full of dead people, children under the legal voting age of 18 and dozens of people who were born in 1897. Above all, it is subject to manipulation.

Without these reforms, any election in Zimbabwe will be hollow and unacceptable to the electorate, the region and international community. It’s as simple as that.

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