‘New Constitution no guarantee for credible poll’
By Sydney Saize
MUTARE – US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray said yesterday the
constitution is not a panacea for free, fair and credible elections.
Ray, who was addressing journalists after commissioning an “American Corner”
at the Turner memorial library in the city, said it was “Zimbabweans’
business” to decide when they can have their own election.
The ambassador was responding to a question whether it was proper to have
elections at this time before a constitution as called for by some in the
inclusive government, particularly President Robert Mugabe.
“What I know for a fact is that it (constitution) has some good parts and
from my experience in a number of places there are areas that need working
“But again what makes it work is the people who are behind it. The issue of
the constitution and the elections is like that of traffic laws — what makes
traffic flow well in a city is not the fear that you will get a fine, but it’s
about the driver in a car A, trusting that in most instances the driver in
car B will abide by the rules,” he said.
Ray said the current constitution guarantees the freedom of the press and
freedom of association.
“You can have the most perfect constitution on earth but if it’s not adhered
to or carried out it’s just a piece of paper,” said Ray.
He said Zimbabweans had to choose their future and not allow other people to
decide for them on their destiny.
He said the “American Corner” was a place where people can come and interact
with Americans, learn their culture, values and history.
He said the US government had donated nine computers all connected to the
Internet, books and other information about the USA.
“We sincerely hope that this American corner will be more than just a space
for books and computers. My staff intends to work with the excellent people
running Turner Memorial Library to make this
partnership into a vibrant, exciting and active source of information debate
The “American Corner” would be accessed free of charge and would be free to
In Zimbabwe there are three “American Corners” in Bulawayo, Gweru and
Mutare. Previously the Mutare one was situated 17km away at the Africa
University, a Methodist-related institution where it has been operational
Mutare town clerk Obert Muzawazi in his remarks thanked the US embassy
highlighting that the library was in a state of closure owing to a cash
Muzawazi said the US partnership with the city of Mutare should be applauded
as it had managed to revive the library which was almost derelict.
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