Wording is everything: this then is question Zimbaweans should be asked in the referendum!

January 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

After the sham 2008 elections in which the country witness the worst orgy of political violence in modern history the parties to the GPA agreed that the GNU will be tasked to implement a number of democratic reforms including security sector and media reforms and write a new democratic constitution which will then be presented to the people for their approval or disapproval. All this was to be done to achieve one purpose – to ensure the next elections “are free and fair and the results are a true reflection of the democratic wish of the people”. In short to ensure the next elections are not a repeat of the sham elections of 2008.

The very fact that GNU was tasked to write a new constitution was per se an acknowledgement that the existing constitution was NOT democratic and will not deliver free and fair elections.

There reason why there was to be a referendum on the new constitution was to give the people the chance to express their opinion first of all on the new constitution itself: whether is it the democratic constitution they expected.  And secondly on whether they are satisfied with the implementation of the reforms and all other preparatory work the GNU was supposed to carry out.

In other words the referendum is asking the people to vote on this simple question:


Please vote yes or no by marking the appropriate box with a X.

YES                                                                                         NO

The consequences of voting yes are:

a)    Zimbabwe can move on to the next stage and hold fresh elections confident they will be free and fair. If they are not then Zimbabweans have only themselves to blame for approving a process which they could see was rotten through and through.

b)      SADC, as the regional guarantor of the GPA, and the international community can rightly wash their hands of Zimbabwe. If a defective political process that denies citizen even the most basic right to free and fair elections is what the people of Zimbabwe want, then outsiders must not interfere.

The consequences of a no vote are:

a)    Zimbabweans will have rejected that enough has been done to guarantee free and fair elections and the logical thing would be to revisit the reforms and rewrite the constitution. Elections will have to be put on hold until the guarantees they will be free and fair.

b)    SADC will be duty bound to assist Zimbabwe to ensure there are free and fair elections. The international community will assist and make sure the people are not once again denied this basic and fundamental right.

c)    Zimbabwe’s next election will be free and fair and the country can be assured of good, democratic and account governments from there on. The country’s climb out of the economic and political hell-hole will have final began in earnest.

It would be wrong for the parties in the GNU to suggest that Zimbabwe will revert to the Lancaster House Constitution if the people reject the Copac constitution. It is the same parties in the GNU who failed the people by failing to implement the reforms and by allowing Mugabe to “dictate” the Copac constitution – no wonder it is a tyrant’s manual and not the democratic constitution the nation want. The people have the right to reject a process they can see is totally inadequate with the expectation that things will be put right and not to be punished by having a rejected process imposed on them.

The unspoken consequence of a yes vote will reaffirm that the people do not appreciate critical importance of free and fair elections as a right and for good governance. They are as malleable as mud and tyrants like Mugabe are only too keen to exploit that weakness.

The unspoken consequence of a no vote is that the three parties to the GNU will lose all political credibility. The people will have reasserted their political and intellectual independence and they are never again going to be exploited and taken for granted by unscrupulous politicians.

5 responses to Wording is everything: this then is question Zimbaweans should be asked in the referendum!

  1. MDC has a story on the party’s web site of how the party saved the nation’s economy “from the brink of total collapse”. What nonsense are they talking about?

    The Zimbabwe economy has continued to shrink losing an average of 4 000 jobs every year since 2008 according to the ZCC.

    The truth of Mugabe “dictating” the Copac constitution and Tsvangirai and MDC just rubber stamping what the tyrant wanted has hit home. The story has exposed Tsvangirai as just a puppet with Mugabe pulling all the strings. And so the party has dug up any old story to in the hope of burying the bad story of its shocking political incompetency.

    Tsvangirai and everyone in Harvest House must know that they can run but they cannot hide. How long are they are going to keep up this charade and lie that this Copac rubbish is going to deliver free and fair elections, free of violence? If the people vote yes and the violence does not stop; Tsvangirai and his friends must know they will be responsible for every limb broken and every live lost as if they carried out the heinous crime with their own bare hands.

    If the nation pass the Copac rubbish, then the elections will have to go ahead; bloody or otherwise. Time is fast running out: Tsvangirai must stop dithering and thus drag the nation into yet another bloody election process!

  2. @Iguana

    The Zanu PF ship is sinking alright. Let me tell if Zimbabweans are really smart; they will vote NO in the coming referendum that will real finish Mugabe. By making Tsvangirai look like a complete twat all these last five years (which with Tsvangirai was not hard to do) Mugabe has over played his hand. The people of Zimbabwe have completely lost confidence in Tsvangirai and therefore they will not vote yes in the referendum which Mugabe has Tsvangirai he must get the people to do!

    If Mugabe lose the referendum, he is finished!

  3. A number of Zimbabwe’s NGO are in Addis Ababa to pressure the AU to get Mugabe to implement the agreed reforms BEFORE the elections are held. “We reiterate our position that the political environment in Zimbabwe is not yet conducive for a free and fair election,” Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in statement ahead of the AU summit.

    That is very true, the environment is Zimbabwe is not conducive for free and fair elections. What these NGOs should and must now accept the reality that there is no political-will in this GNU and Mugabe in particular, for he is the one wielding all the power in this GNU, to implement the reforms. The GNU has had four and half years in which to implement the reforms and not even one has seen the light of day.

    Now with the GNU occupied with preparing for the referendum and then the elections, it is hard to see how the reforms can still be implemented, even if the political-will missing so far was suddenly there, and for them to change anything on the ground.

    A more realistic way forward is for the NGO to focus their time and energy in explaining to the ordinary Zimbabweans that contrary to what leaders like Prime Minister Tsvangirai would have them believe there will be no free and fair elections. And the only way to stop the elections until the reform are implemented is by rejecting the Copac constitution in the upcoming referendum.

  4. @ G Ayatollah

    I agree that playing an active role in Zimbabwean politics is very “risky” business and not many people have elected to be involved. This has always been the case even before independence. Those who have taken the plunge have always said it is for altruistic reason; before independence it was to end white oppression and exploitation of the blacks and bring independence and freedom to all; after independence, it was to end Zanu PF corruption and oppression.

    The truth is these politicians took the plunge into Zimbabwe’s the crocodile infested for selfish reasons; for Mugabe and his cronies, to replace the whites and commandeer the nation’s wealth and resources for their own selfish use and for Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to join Mugabe on the gravy train.

    All this talk of heroic self-sacrifice by these black politicians is a lie. Name one, I will not ask you to name two or three – just one, Zimbabwean politician who has not sort to enrich him or herself the minute they got into power?

    It seems mercenary is not in the Zimbabwean political vocabulary or is it that people just conveniently forget it because they do not seem to recognise the transformation of the country’s politicians from hero to mercenary. Still the transformation is there and it is quite dramatic; these politicians transform from a beautiful butterfly when they live and are suffering together with the ordinary people to a ravaging ugly caterpillar when they get into power and on the gravy train.

    We want to hold on to the image of our political leaders as beautiful butterfly and they go to great length to remind us of that image and to remember nothing else. We only fool ourselves. We need to deal with the reality; that these politicians take the plunge for selfish reasons. They muddy the waters become the crocodiles as soon as they get into power; we need to distinction quality leaders from these opportunists if we are to have peace, freedom and justice!

  5. @ZATO
    There will be no coup in Zimbabwe because the Army, the Police and CIO will see to it that Zanu PF “wins”. You MDC people should stop deluding yourself and think your party can win an election where Zanu PF have licence to use every dirty trick they can come up with including the dictatorship’s most trusted weapon – wanton violence.

    In their eagerness to get back on the gravy train MDC has failed to get the reforms implemented and the playing field levelled. Already MDC is talking of boycotting the elections if the violence continues, just another fertile MDC gesture. MDC has accepting going into elections knowing fully well Mugabe and Zanu PF are playing with a loaded dice, it is nonsense to complain of this when the game is lost!