Mugabe threatens to dump new constitution
By KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has warned that the country’s draft
constitution will be discarded if it is rejected by Parliament this week.
The new constitution, which took more than four years to craft, was approved
at a referendum in March and would be taken to parliament this week.
President Mugabe must append his signature to the document before it becomes
He told a meeting of his Zanu-PF party’s central committee at the weekend
that the country would be forced to revert to the old constitution if the
legislators take their time to approve the new draft.
“We hope parliament will pass it,” the veteran ruler said. “It is not yet a
constitution, but a political draft.
“If people dilly-daily on it, then we go back to the old constitution.
“Some people might want to pick their preferred clauses from the draft.
“However, nothing of that sort is acceptable. We are not bothered; we will
go back to the old constitution.”
President Mugabe is pushing for elections by June 29 when the life of the
current Parliament expires but his opponents and regional leaders are
pushing for electoral and security sector reforms before any polls.
But the 89 year-old leader who wants to run for another term in office said
he would not succumb to international pressure to delay the polls.
“The clock is ticking,” he said. “This is May. In June, whether anyone likes
it or not, it will be election time.
“You do not run to countries even in Europe to prevent the sun from setting
on June 29.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who has been in a power sharing government
with his former rival last week met leaders of South Africa, Tanzania,
Gabon, Nigeria, Botswana and Mozambique to lobby them to lean on President
Mugabe to implement reforms before the polls.
South African President Jacob Zuma is the mediator in talks between Zimbabwe’s
three governing political parties to create a conducive environment ahead of
His team was in Harare last week to assess progress on the reforms.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s army commander has vowed not to meet Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangiriai over proposed security sector reforms, describing him as
a ‘psychiatric patient.’
General Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
a staunch ally of President Robert Mugabe said meeting the former opposition
leader would be a betrayal of the country’s liberation struggle.
A fortnight ago, officials from the Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), said the party had met several security chiefs to discuss the
reforms backed by the Southern African Development Community.
“We have no time to meet a sell out,” Gen Chiwenga told the state owned
“Clearly (Mr) Tsvangirai is a psychiatric patient who needs a competent
Zimbabwe’s army generals who openly support President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party
have in the past vowed not to salute Mr Tsvangirai if he wins an election.
The MDC leader has indicated that despite the opposition by the security
chiefs, his party was prepared to work with them in a post President Mugabe
“It’s a figment of his imagination that he met us,” Gen Chiwenga said
referring to Mr Tsvangirai.
“I think he was dreaming and that dream should remain a dream and never be a
reality because we have better things to do than to meet with sell-outs.
“It’s just not possible for me to entertain the MDC leader, we are
“Just like oil and water, we cannot mix. As the defence forces we will not
respect or entertain people who do not value the ideals of the liberation
The security forces were accused of orchestrating political violence in 2008
after President Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential elections to
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