Nyikayaramba a Zanu PF thematic committees advisor
By Faith Zaba
TOP army officer and commander of 3 Infantry Brigade in Manicaland, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, is the technical advisor on elections and transitional mechanisms for Zanu PF in compiling data collected during the constitution outreach meetings.
Nyikayaramba, who has openly declared his support for Zanu PF, is one of the top three advisors representing President Robert Mugabe’s party in the teams of technical experts who have been selected to compile views expressed by people during the consultations.
Co-chairperson of the Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana yesterday said Nyikayaramba, Zimbabwe Media Commission chief executive officer Tafataona Mahoso and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Vimbai Chivaura were among Zanu PF’s technical advisors in the thematic committees.
In 2002 Nyikayaramba was said to have resigned from the army and was appointed chief elections officer of the electoral commission ahead of the presidential election contested bitterly between Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
After the poll which Tsvangirai claimed was rigged, Nyikayaramba resumed his post in the army.
Nyikayaramba is also one of the top army officers who have vowed never to salute any leader without liberation war credentials –– an apparent reference to Tsvangirai.
Last year, Nyikayaramba said as long as the current generals were still in control of the army Mugabe would remain in office for life.
He has described civil servants who have not publicly declared their political allegiance to Zanu PF as traitors.
According to Nyikayaramba, only war veterans and chiefs have the right and powers to hold rallies and meetings because they fought for this country.
Mahoso, Nyikayaramba and Chivaura are part of the new team of technical experts who have been chosen to compile the constitution data that will be used by the drafting team to come up with a new supreme law.
Mahoso and Chivaura are well-known Zanu PF sympathisers who host programmes on national television backing Mugabe’s party and denouncing Tsvangirai.
Sources in Copac said Judge President of the Francistown High Court in Botswana Justice Moses Chinhengo, and University of Zimbabwe law lecturers Geoff Feltoe and Brian Crozier have been nominated by the three political parties in the GNU to draft the constitution.
However, Mangwana said Copac had only agreed on Crozier and Chinhengo and were still to come up with two female names to ensure that there is gender balance in the drafting committee.
“You are correct on Crozier and Justice Chinhengo but we have not agreed on Feltoe. We want a woman to be part of the team,” Mangwana said. “We are going to forward five names to the management committee, who will approve three of the names. Crozier and Justice Chinhengo are legislative drafting experts with Masters Degrees in that area.”
Crozier was the director of legal drafting in the Attorney-General’s Office from 1989 until he resigned in 2000. Prior to that, he worked as a public prosecutor and legal adviser in the then Rhodesian government and in Zimbabwe after Independence.
Justice Chinhengo resigned from the High Court Bench in 2004 without giving any reasons and Feltoe is a member of the Zimbabwe Election Commission.
The drafting team will also comprise teams of four legal experts and social scientists from each of the three political parties and the three Copac co-chairpersons, who will give instructions to the three technical drafters. Drafting should start as soon as the thematic committees finish compiling the views from the provinces.
Mangwana said compilation, which is expected to start today, should be completed in 10 days.
He said to ensure that there are no further delays, Copac has appointed 306 technical experts to the thematic committees –– 102 from each political party –– 51 team leaders and 51 researchers. Mangwana said the legislators, who were in the initial thematic committees, have been removed except for those who were heading the teams.
“We lost over US$2 million last week when the process stalled due to disagreements on how data should be compiled,”he said.“If we had continued with the initial number of 700 members in the thematic committees, we would have needed another US$1,8 million. But now we will only need U$900 000 to finish the process within the 10 days required.”
“We want people who are efficient, computer literate and these people will be supported by the team leaders who are the politicians and they will sign each report. We removed legislators and they have been replaced by people who are computer literate,” he added.
Outlining the process of compiling data that they have agreed on, Mangwana said: “We have now agreed on taking the predominant views from the three meetings in a ward. A district report will then be complied with predominant views from the total 30 wards in each district, before a provincial report is complied.”
A new constitution will lead to elections meant to end the country’s political crisis which almost resulted in an economic implosion before Sadc facilitated a government of national unity.
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