Khupe brings laughter to the house


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Movement for Democratic Change vice-President Thokozani Khupe brought laughter to the house at a time when tensions between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the MDC were quite high when she said Zimbabwean families were divided between ZANU-PF and the MDC, between ZANU-PF and ZAU-PF, and between the MDC and the MDC.

She was speaking after the presentation of Constitutional Amendment Number 18 by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in September 2007.

The amendment sought to harmonise elections in the country, to reduce the presidential term and to increase the sizes of both the lower and upper houses.

Khupe said the MDC regarded the passage of Amendment 18 “as the first step towards a holistic resolution of the national crisis”.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 07HARARE858, AMENDMENT 18

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE858

2007-09-19 13:22

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2126

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0858/01 2621322

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 191322Z SEP 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1909

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1706

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1580

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1710

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0347

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0976

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1339

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1767

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4185

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1538

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2200

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0831

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1927

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000858

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E.LOKEN AND L.DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: AMENDMENT 18

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren under 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (U) In a choreographed parliamentary session on September

18, ZANU-PF and the MDC agreed to the adoption of Amendment

18 to the Constitution which will harmonize presidential and

parliamentary elections, expand the size of Parliament, and

mandate Parliament to elect the president in the event of a

vacancy. Agreement on Amendment 18 is seen as part of the

SADC mediation process; in exchange for its position on

Amendment 18, the MDC expects to win concessions in a final

SADC agreement that will involve electoral reform, reform of

repressive legislation, continued negotiation on a new

constitution, and a date for elections. End Summary.

 

————————–

The Amendment 18 agreement

————————–

 

2. (U) The proposed amendment, as read to Parliament by

Patrick Chinimasa, Minister of Justice and ZANU-PF SADC

negotiator, provides changes as follows:

–a reduction in the presidential term from six to five

years, which will permit harmonized presidential,

parliamentary, and local elections next year;

–an increase in the number of House of Assembly members from

150 to 210, all of whom will be elected;

–an increase in the number of Senators from 60 to 93–60

will be directly elected (six per province), 10 will be

provincial governors appointed by the president, 16 will be

provincial chiefs appointed by the president and deputy

president from all provinces except Harare and Bulawayo, and

seven will be appointed by the president and will represent

special interests;

–Parliament will elect the president in the event of a

vacancy;

–The Electoral Commission will delimit parliamentary and

local constituencies.

 

3. (U) In his remarks, Chinimasa stated that Amendment 18

was part of a two-track process. The other track was the

continuing SADC negotiations.

 

4. (U) MDC Anti-Senate Vice-President Thokozani Khupe

(Tsvangirai’s deputy) responded that as a “confidence

building” measure in the context of the SADC negotiations,

the MDC would not stand in the way of the passage of

Amendment 18. She noted the MDC had received assurances that

negotiations were ongoing on critical issues such as a Bill

of Rights, independent electoral commission, and overhaul of

restrictive security, electoral, and media laws; and

emphasized that the MDC regarded the outcome of Amendment 18

“as the first step towards a holistic resolution of the

national crisis.” During her presentation, Khupe evoked

loud–and knowledgeable–laughter from both sides when she

remarked that Zimbabwean families were divided between

ZANU-PF and the MDC, between ZANU-PF and ZANU-PF, and between

the MDC and the MDC.

 

5. (U) MDC Pro-Senate Secretary-General Welshman Ncube and

Pro-Senate Vice-President Gibson Sibanda followed Khupe.

Ncube stated that both factions of the MDC had caucused

together over Amendment 18, and continued to negotiate as one

entity in the SADC mediation. In contrast to Khupe, who said

 

HARARE 00000858 002 OF 003

 

 

the MDC would not stand in the way of the adoption of the

amendment, Ncube expressed positive support. Both Ncube and

Sibanda struck a conciliatory note, highlighting the

importance of dialogue between the two parties, progress made

to date, and expressing hope that agreement on Amendment 18

represented an “historic moment” in finding solitions to

Zimbabwe’s crisis. Ncube acknowledged that civil society,

particularly the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) had

long resisted piecemeal change to the Constitution. Seeking

to assuage critics, he said Amendment 18 was an interim step;

negotiations would continue on a new constitution.

 

——————-

Zimbabwean Reaction

——————-

 

6. (U) The Herald, the government-controlled daily,

trumpeted in a banner headline, “ZANU-PF, MDC agree to amend

Constitution”. Demonstrating that all is not roses, a

companion article, implying that the MDC was beholden to the

West, stated that Tsvangirai had consulted the British

ambassador to Zimbabwe before meeting last weekend with South

African president Mbeki to discuss the SADC process. The

article quoted an International Crisis Group (ICG) report

that the MDC was bitterly divided and unable to mount a

viable opposition against ZANU-PF.

 

7. (C) Eldred Masanangure, a University of Zimbabwe

political scientist considered an objective analyst, told us

he had expected an explosive clash between the parties over

Amendment 18. He thought the agreement on the amendment was

a significant milestone in post-2000 politics. It would be

“irresponsible” to think the SADC negotiations, of which

Amendment 18 was a part, represented business as usual.

 

———-

Next Steps

———-

 

8. (C) We understand from MDC sources that negotiations will

continue on reform of the Access to Information and

Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Public Order and

Security Act (POSA), a new electoral law, and a new

constitution. Also to be agreed upon is the timing of next

year’s election. The MDC realizes it is unprepared for

elections. And assuming agreement on reforms is achieved, it

needs time to benefit from these reforms in terms of

organizing and unrestricted campaigning. Therefore, the MDC

would like a delay of at least six months of the elections

now scheduled for March. Mugabe, on the other hand, realizes

his advantage, and would like the elections to proceed as

scheduled, although he might agree to a postponement to June

in order to run with an improved economy.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) Zimbabweans on all sides are tired, and there is a

marked–and unusual–sense of optimism across the political

divide. But the reality is that Amendment 18 is a bare

beginning and much remains to be done. We don’t for a minute

think that Mugabe will make concessions he doesn’t think will

ultimately benefit him. For now he believes he can allow

constitutional and legislative reform, and still win the

election and gain legitimacy in the process. The MDC has to

ask whether an agreement on paper will translate to basic

 

HARARE 00000858 003 OF 003

 

 

freedoms on the ground. Will there be a truly independent

electoral commission that will allow people throughout the

country to freely register? Will it be able to organize and

campaign throughout the country without interference from the

government or its surrogates? Will the government use food

aid to coerce voters?

 

10. (C) For now, the SADC process represents the best hope

for change in Zimbabwe. Perhaps even more important than an

actual agreement is the implementation of an agreement. It

is critical that any SADC outcome provide for implementation

and monitoring.

 

 

DHANANI

(14 VIEWS)

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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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