Mangwana tells Chinotimba to shut up


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The co-chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution Paul Mangwana berated war veterans and told their leader Joseph Chinotimba to “ shut up and stick to business” when war veterans tried to disrupt a training session of a thematic committee.

The war veterans had started singing revolutionary songs but members of the Movement for Democratic Change and civic organisations refused to be cowed by the war veterans and rebuked them demanding that they observe the rules of the Select Committee that required that all members should be non-political.

Mangwana told the war veterans to shut up and they relented and complied.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 10HARARE22, ZIMBABWE INCHES TOWARDS A NEW CONSTITUTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

10HARARE22

2010-01-15 10:23

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000022

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

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ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR M. GAVIN

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE INCHES TOWARDS A NEW CONSTITUTION

 

HARARE 00000022 001.2 OF 003

 

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) On January 11, Minister of Constitutional and

Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga presided over the launch

of the public outreach portion of Zimbabwe’s effort to draft

a new constitution. In sharp contrast with last July’s

chaotic All Stakeholders Conference, the approximate 1,000

delegates in attendance were orderly and, at times, even

showed a commonality of purpose that cut across party lines.

A number of representatives from all three parties spoke of

the need for unity as the country pursues its quest for a new

democratic constitution. The launch was followed by a

three-day training period. Thematic outreach teams will then

travel throughout Zimbabwe to gather views on the new

constitution. While this week’s meetings went smoothly,

there is concern that ZANU-PF will attempt to impede outreach

efforts. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) Matinenga made opening remarks to about 1,000

delegates to launch the outreach process. The launch was

followed by a three-day training course administered to the

625 members of the thematic outreach teams that will travel

throughout Zimbabwe, gathering public views on the content of

the new democratic constitution. The 65 day outreach effort

will commence in the next couple of weeks. The GOZ and donor

agencies are jointly providing funding.

 

————————————–

Time Frame for New Constitution Missed

————————————–

 

3. (SBU) In his remarks at the launch, Matinenga attributed

the delay in beginning the outreach portion of the process to

bickering amongst the three political parties to the GPA,

lack of funding, and little trust between stakeholders.

Matinenga told the delegates that the Parliamentary Select

Committee on the Constitution (PSCC) and his ministry are

merely facilitating the process to enable Zimbabweans to

write a democratic constitution for themselves. He

emphasized that the process of writing a new constitution was

not about competing for state power, but building strong

democratic institutions that foster good governance.

 

—————————-

Peaceful Launch A Good Omen?

—————————-

 

4. (SBU) The launch of the outreach phase was peaceful and

orderly, contrasting sharply with the chaos that reigned on

the first day of the first All Stakeholders Conference in

July 2009 when the proceedings were disrupted by ZANU-PF

supporters and war veterans loyal to President Mugabe.

 

5. (SBU) We spoke to some delegates who told us that they

were impressed by the peaceful atmosphere which prevailed at

the event. For example, MDC-T legislator for Makoni South,

Pishai Muchauraya, said that the event was an important

milestone in the constitution-making process and counseled

caution. He said that ZANU-PF can behave itself when it

suits them, but cannot be trusted to keep cooperating without

external pressure to rein them in. His observation proved

Qexternal pressure to rein them in. His observation proved

prescient: on January 12 some war veterans tried to disrupt a

training session of a thematic committee by singing

revolutionary songs. But other members of the committee from

the MDC and civic organizations refused to be cowed by the

veterans and rebuked them, demanding they observe the rules

of the PSCC that require all members to be non-political.

 

 

HARARE 00000022 002.2 OF 003

 

 

——————————————— ———-

“Shut Up” Mangwana Tells War Veterans Leader Chinotimba

——————————————— ———-

 

6. (SBU) As the fracas threatened to get out of hand,

ZANU-PF PSCC Co-Chair Paul Mangwana intervened. Mangwana

berated the veterans and told them that they had no monopoly

over the country’s affairs. He told notorious veterans’

leader Joseph Chinotimba to “shut up and stick to business.”

The veterans relented and complied. The incident underscored

the precarious state of the truce that binds the political

rivals even in a national cause such as the writing of new

constitution.

 

———————-

Kariba Draft Abandoned

———————-

 

7. (SBU) One sticking point in the ongoing constitutional

reform process has been the parties’ disagreement on the use

of the 2007 Kariba Draft Constitution. ZANU-PF had insisted

that the draft be the reference point for the new

constitution-making effort, while the MDC argued that there

should be no reference document. But in their speeches

Mangwana and PSCC co-chair Douglas Mwonzora told the

delegates that the outreach teams would not use any reference

documents when they gathered the people’s views on the

constitution. Mangwana told the delegates that no draft

would be imposed on the people, and the people must give

their views freely. He warned all delegates — singling out

politically-linked delegates — against engaging in

campaigning. He said that political party representatives in

the PSCC ceased to take instructions from their parties once

they became part of the Committee.

 

8. (SBU) We spoke to Mangwana about the positive tone of his

speech to the delegates. He said that the event warranted it

and that the time had come for Zimbabwe to move forward.

 

————

MDC On Guard

————

 

9. (SBU) Despite the successful launch of the outreach

phase, some senior MDC-T officials remained cautious.

Mwonzora told us that while he appreciated the level of

co-operation that ZANU-PF was showing, it was important for

the MDC formations not to be complacent. He said that the

process is still vulnerable to the caprices of ZANU-PF. For

the time being however, Mwonzora believes that the process is

on course and should lead to a draft constitution by year’s

end. He told us that the process had built-in mechanisms to

ensure public views were captured accurately.

 

10. (SBU) Echoing Mwonzora’s caution, Matinenga told the

Ambassador in a meeting on January 14 that the outreach phase

was beginning well and that ZANU-PF was saying the right

things. But he noted that during his visits to rural areas

to discuss the constitutional process ZANU-PF officials had

said constitutional reform should be dependent on the removal

of sanctions and he was concerned that ZANU-PF would try to

impede the outreach.

 

———————-

Civil Society Critical

———————-

Q———————-

11. (SBU) The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) which

has been critical of the constitutional process because of

the influence of the political parties, issued a statement

that “the process is not only illegitimate but should not be

 

HARARE 00000022 003 OF 003

 

 

taken seriously by any Zimbabwean citizen.” The NCA

complained that the composition of the thematic committees

had been determined by the parties and not civil society.

Civil society groups have also noted that outreach members

include partisans such as Jonathan Moyo and individuals who

were involved in the 2008 election violence.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (SBU) Zimbabwe’s constitutional drafting process has

resumed after a six-month hiatus caused largely by the

preoccupation of the political leadership with outmaneuvering

each other in government. Consequently, the outreach phase

has begun two months after it was supposed to have been

completed.

 

13. (SBU) Delays aside, this phase will test ZANU-PF’s

willingness to tolerate constitutional reform. Historically

Mugabe’s party has restricted access by civics and members of

the opposition into rural strongholds. With sensitive topics

up for discussion such as checks on executive authority and

control of the military, ZANU-PF may view this outreach

effort as a threat to their control and engage in efforts to

frustrate the process. END COMMENT.

 

RAY

(15 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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