Mugove Tafirenyika 30 June 2017
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe will not align subsidiary legislation to
the new Constitution because that will be tantamount to reforming himself
out of power, a former Cabinet minister has said.
Paul Mangwana – co-chairperson of the parliamentary committee that drove
the constitutional reforms representing Mugabe’s Zanu PF party – told the
Sapes Trust organised post-liberation Southern Africa programme conference
on Zimbabwe in Transition: Reform and Reconstruction, that constitutional
reform was only possible if those who stand to benefit from it push hard.
“The time it takes to align the Constitution depends on who is negatively
affected by the process and who wants positive change,” Mangwana said.
“The Constitution takes away some powers from the Executive and you would
not expect someone whose powers are set to be taken to take the first step
Mangwana was responding to a host of speakers including former
Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga; a senior researcher at
the Institute for Security Studies, Derek Matyszak, and MDC Harare West
MP Jessie Majome among others who had decried the lack of movement on
constitutional reform since 2013.
Nearly 95 percent of voters in a 2013 referendum approved the new charter,
which was backed by Mugabe and then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
political rivals who were forced into a power-sharing deal after disputed
elections in 2008.
Presidential powers, including the right to make senior appointments in
government and the military, have been significantly curtailed in the new
Presidential decrees will also require majority backing in the Cabinet,
and declaring emergency rule or dissolving Parliament will need the
approval of two-thirds of lawmakers, changes that will take effect after
the next election.
Mangwana said those pushing for alignment of laws to the new Constitution
were “electoral cowards” because “they are now literally saying put in
place electoral reforms that will ensure that you lose and we win and we
are saying no.”
“That will never happen anyway in a modern constitutional democracy that a
political party that is coming to government on the back of a new
negotiated Constitution, on the back of a new negotiated Electoral Act, to
then come up with reforms intended to reform itself out of power.
“The reforms they are talking about are a clear code to say, come up with
laws that will ensure that you are out. That will not happen because it is
inherently unreasonable,” Mangwana said in brutally honest remarks.
He further blamed opposition MPs and civic organisations for not doing
enough to ensure the actualisation of the new Constitution.