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Matinenga said constitution depends on Mugabe

The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga said the success of the constitution making process depended on the sincerity and engagement of President Robert Robert Mugabe.

He said this after the first day of the two-day stakeholders’ meeting aimed at mapping out the country’s new constitutional was nearly disrupted by war veterans led by Joseph Chinotimba.

Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and President Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao were also allegedly involved in the chaos.

Police had to intervene to restore order.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told Mugabe that his party would pull out of the inclusive government if ZANU-PF sabotaged the constitution making process.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE588, DESPITE ROCKY START, CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE588

2009-07-15 14:17

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8041

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0588/01 1961417

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 151417Z JUL 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4723

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2949

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3066

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1495

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2329

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2696

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3114

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5557

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2244

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000588

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/15/2019

TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: DESPITE ROCKY START, CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESS

MARCHES ON

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) The two-day All Stakeholder’s Conference concluded

successfully on July 14 after getting off to a rocky start

July 13 when riot police were called in to assert control

following a disturbance caused by ZANU-PF activists. While

much remains to be done, the constitutional process is still

on track. The Conference may have been salvaged by a warning

issued by Prime Minister Tsvangirai to President Mugabe that

the MDC would consider pulling out of the inclusive

government if ZANU-PF sabotaged the path towards a new

Constitution. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————–

ZANU-PF Led Disruption Threatens Conference(

——————————————–

 

2. (SBU) The two-day All Stakeholder’s Conference (ASC) was

threatened on July 13 when riot police were called in to

assert control following a large disturbance caused by

ZANU-PF youth groups. According to several eye witnesses

including pol specialist, the chaos was likely orchestrated

by a trio of ZANU-PF officials consisting of Youth Minister

Saviour Kasukuwere, President Mugabe’s nephew and ZANU-PF MP

Patrick Zhuwao, and war veteran leader Joseph Chinotimba, who

led youth groups in sining, dancing and chanting political

slogans. They then threw objects at House Speaker Lovemore

Moyo (MDC-T) during his welcoming remarks. As the situation

grew increasingly violent, police were called in and ejected

all the participants from the Harare International Conference

Center.

 

——————————————-

(But Mugabe and Tsvangirai Rein in Disorder

——————————————-

 

3. (SBU) According to Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in

the PM’s Office, PM Morgan Tsvangirai met with President

Mugabe following the dramatic events of July 13 and made it

clear that if ZANU-PF sabotaged the constitutional process,

the MDC-T would be forced to consider pulling out of the

inclusive government. According to Moyo, this resulted in

Mugabe’s condemnation of the disturbance during a subsequent

joint press conference with Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime

Minister Arthur Mutambara. Mugabe admonished, “We are here

to say that we will not brook any further disturbances in the

future. We must have this constitution done, it’s a

necessity. We feel disturbed and we have a sense of

abhorrence with what happened this morning. What happened is

not in accordance with the letter and spirit of the global

political agreement.”

 

 

4. (SBU) On July 14, security was substantially tighter, and

only accredited delegates were allowed into the venue;

numerous unaccredited people had been granted entry on July

13 because the registration process had become bogged down.

When the substantive meeting finally began, two prominent

academics, Professors Phinias Makhurane and Hope Sadza,

Qacademics, Professors Phinias Makhurane and Hope Sadza,

co-chaired the event. They gave presentations on the

objectives of the conference, the process leading to the

First ASC and the Second ASC to be held in mid-February.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric

Matinenga laid out government’s role in constitution making.

 

5. (SBU) Twelve thematic areas were identified to be the

 

HARARE 00000588 002 OF 002

 

 

topical basis of outreach efforts during the coming

four-month consultative phase. They are: Founding Principles

of the Constitution; Arms of the State (principle of the

separation of powers); Systems of Governance; Bill of Rights;

Women and Youth; Land, Natural Resources and Empowerment;

Labor; Elections, Transitional Mechanisms and Independent

Commissions; Executive Organs of the State (security forces,

Public Service Commission, prisons); Public Finance;

Traditional Institutions and Customs; and Religion.

Different speakers discussed the key issues that each of the

thematic issues would address. The Herald reported on July

15 that Media, War Veterans, Languages and the Disabled were

added subsequently, bringing the total number of thematic

areas to sixteen. During the next several weeks, the

Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution will

propose the adoption of the thematic areas, assign members to

thematic sub-committees and determine a process of public

consultation.

 

6. (SBU) The ASC invited 4,000 delegates, but we are unable

to confirm the actual number of attendees. Several civil

society organizations, including the National Constitutional

Assembly (NCA), criticized the heavy presence of political

party representatives who accounted for 40 percent of total

invitations. Other organizations, including Zimbabwe Lawyers

for Human Rights (ZLHR), criticized the general lack of

organization. ZLHR was never sent their invitations, but

only found them by word of mouth in a stack of civil society

invitations at the parliament building two days before the

conference.

 

7. (U) Subsequent to the Conference, Lovemore Matombo and

Wellington Chibhebhe of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade

Unions, NCA President Lovemore Madhuku, and Zimbabwe National

Student Union President Clever Bere, all of whose

organizations boycotted the Conference, held a press

conference and announced their own “Constitutional

Convention” to be held on July 27. They hope 3,500 delegates

will attend the “people driven” convention.

 

8. (SBU) Not surprisingly, the State-controlled television

news broadcaster, following the first day’s events, blamed

the disruption on the MDC, students, labor and other civic

activists. The next day, however, The Herald, while not

attributing blame for the disturbance, reported on the press

conference, including Mugabe’s remarks.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) The disturbance demonstrates that there are ZANU-PF

elements that are eager to scuttle a new Constitution even

before a first draft is produced. Eric Matinenga, the

Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs who is

coordinating the constitutional process for Cabinet, told us

that its future depends in large part on the sincerity and

engagement of Mugabe. In his press conference, Mugabe

appeared genuinely angered by the disturbance, perhaps

Qappeared genuinely angered by the disturbance, perhaps

influenced by what he viewed as a national embarrassment and

personal slight. However, his repeated statements asserting

that the content of the new constitution has already been

agreed (reftel) does not suggest that he values a process

designed to elicit the views of the Zimbabwean people. END

COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

(5 VIEWS)

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