A New Beginning For Zimbabwe: The Constitution, The Referendum And The Elections

12 Mar, 2013 04:08

The General Emmanuel Erskine Research and Documentation Centre which is the arm for research, documentation and training of the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa will be publishing a monthly bulletin on developments in Africa beginning in March 2013. This Bulletin contains the views and experiences of its Coordinator. The views so expressed are not those of CPIA but are my own personal views.

The month of March 2013 is a month of great expectations. Kenya will hold its Presidential Elections after the violence of its last elections and Zimbabwe will be holding a Referendum on its new Constitution which will lead to new elections after also the violence of its last elections..It is my hope that both these two countries have learnt lessons from their recent past.

 l will dedicate the March Bulletin to Zimbabwe and the April Bulletin to Kenya.

I am deeply encouraged with developments in Zimbabwe. A good draft Constitution has been crafted. It is not a perfect Constitution but I never expected a perfect constitution as there is no such document anywhere in the world. It is a document that gives the people of Zimbabwe a chance to move their country to peace and sustainable development. I would have wished had the voting in the 16 March 2013 Referendum had been spread into two days. But one day would do since Zimbabwe has limited finances. We will make the most of the day that has been reserved for the exercise.

I had been discouraged when I heard that Mr Simpson Mutambanegwe, the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had resigned for health reasons .I have known Mr Mutambanegwe for decades and I knew him as a fair man, an excellent lawyer and a judicious Judge. My hope for Zimbabwe was quickly restored when it was announced that Justice Rita Makarau of the Supreme Court had been appointed Acting Chairperson of ZEC. Zimbabwe is endowed with good people, excellent professionals when our leaders decide to choose well. I too know Justice Makarau have had the occasion of interacting with her. She has a sharp mind and burns with the desire to be fair as a judge and just as a person.

If the Principals of the present interim Government continue to work together in this way then Zimbabwe is on the right road to redeeming itself. They will soon agree on the code of conduct of security forces during the elections and it is my hope that those services will act in accordance with that code. They will also agree on how to fairly level the ground in so far as access to the media is concerned.

 What I am not sure of is how both the public and private media will behave .But we are all hopeful that Zimbabwe has been given a new beginning which all Zimbabweans will take advantage of'

It is up to the Zimbabwe people to reject to be used as tools of political violence. i welcome the statements of all the political leaders condemning violence and calling on the police  to arrest anyone involved in violence and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. We have been given a chance to redeem ourselves.

Leonard T Kapungu



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