DRC intervention and wisdom!


Zimbabwe’s intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which continues to dog the country as it fails to get much needed balance of payments support from the International Monetary Fund, was not only questionable constitutionally but it was an abysmal lack of economic wisdom, so says the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in its annual report for 1998.

It says 1998 was not a good year for Zimbabwe in the fields of human rights and democracy. The year started badly with the brutal response of the Zimbabwe National Army to the food riots in January which resulted in several deaths, injuries and much litigation.

It also saw the land debacle which was used to undermine what little confidence remained in the economy while achieving nothing in the process of orderly and productive resettlement, the commission says.

It says the report of the Chidyausiku Commission into the War Victims Fund, the demise of the United Merchant Bank after the apparently fraudulent issue of Cold Storage Commission bills and the reports of the looting of the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe indicated that corruption had reached alarming proportions in the country.

“It is unfortunate that to date very few prosecutions have commenced is these cases.”

The CCJP also says the holding of rural district council elections towards the end of the year did little to reassure the nation that democracy was on course or that the office of the registrar general had the capacity to organise or hold democratic elections.

On the positive side, though, the CCJP says, some progress was made in Parliament with the introduction of the constitutional debate and the report of the Parliamentary Reform Committee.

It says, the work of the National Constitutional Assembly, which has now been left in the “cold”, offered the greatest hope that Zimbabwe may emerge from this debate with a constitution which will protect democracy and safeguard the rights of all citizens.

Another positive outcome of the Parliamentary Reform process was the fact that the budget was presented to Parliament six weeks in advance of its implementation giving Parliamentarians a chance to hear from civil society their views on the budget proposals.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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