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05/03/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party told South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister to “shut up” on Monday, as it accused her of “gross interference” in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told the South African parliament that “our government expect that there would be no deviation from the provisions of the GPA” requiring that Zimbabwean parties agree on a new constitution before elections.

"The GPA envisages that an election in Zimbabwe will only be held following the finalisation of the constitution-making process," Nkoana-Mashabane said in a reply to a parliamentary question.

But Zanu PF is growing impatient with the process, accusing its political rivals in the coalition government of slowing down the constitution in order to push the elections further back.

President Robert Mugabe warned on his 88th birthday last month that he would call elections with or without a new constitution, declaring: “We want elections, we wanted them yesterday, we want them today, we want them any day, but others are saying no, no, no, we can’t have elections.

“We just must have elections. They just must take place with or without a new constitution... If others don’t want to have an election then they are free not to participate.”

And on Monday, Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo laid into Nkoana-Mashabane, insisting that President Jacob Zuma was mandated to mediate in Zimbabwe as an individual.

“The South African government is not a GPA facilitator, this woman as an official of the South African government has no business whatsoever commenting on this thing. Zimbabwe has never been a province of South Africa, is not a province of South Africa and will never be a province of South Africa,” Moyo told New Zimbabwe.com by telephone from Harare.

“It is outrageous that you have someone using her national institution [parliament] and using her ministerial portfolio to comment on Zimbabwe saying ‘our government’ to refer to a SADC process. It’s provocative and insulting. She knows very well she has no business meddling in Zimbabwe’s affairs, she can only say that and get away with it if she believed Zimbabwe is a province of South Africa, but even Rhodies [Rhodesians] rejected that even as they were getting help from Boers. It’s preposterous.”


Mugabe warned last month that his Zanu PF party reserved a right to reject Zuma as a mediator between Zimbabwe’s troubled coalition partners.

“We can reject Zuma very easily. We have since warned him that we are not forced to [accept him], but we don't want to do that, we want understanding,” Mugabe said.

He insisted that "facilitators do not carry the name of their home country”, adding: "We will not brook any dictation from any source. We are a sovereign country. Even our neighbours cannot dictate to us. We will resist that.

“The facilitator is the facilitator and must facilitate dialogue. He cannot prescribe anything. We prescribe what we should do in accordance with our laws and our agreement."

Moyo said Nkoana-Mashabane was trying to pre-empt three major processes that must take place before a constitution could be adopted.

“It remains a real possibility that parties will not agree on a new constitution. If Nkoana-Mashabane has read Article 6 of the GPA, she would not say for sure there will be a new constitution because the GPA says ‘if the parties agree’ which we cannot guarantee,” Moyo said.

“Secondly, the draft constitution will go to a referendum where people have an option to endorse or reject it, one of those possibilities is assured. That woman as a South African minister has no capacity to prejudge the outcome one way or the other, unless if she intends to force us to agree, and force us to like a constitution which is unacceptable.

“Thirdly, the same draft must also go to parliament and pass with a two thirds majority. If parliament is unable to muster the two thirds, it will end there.

"All those three hurdles must be overcome, and one of them is enough to destroy the whole thing. And if one of those things fail, does she think that will be the end of Zimbabwe?

“The future of Zimbabwe is not dependent on a new constitution, and if she doesn’t know that then she must shut up. What she is saying about the constitution is delinquent. She has no locus standi to make these pronouncements which constitute a gross interference in our national affairs, she has no remit to talk about us.”

Mugabe’s MDC rivals still believe they can crater any election push by mobilising regional support against Zanu PF which covets the backing of former liberation movements in SADC.

MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said last month: "Only after the necessary reforms have been implemented will the president and I agree on the date of elections.

"I will not agree to elections without the reforms. The way forward is a free and fair election, but only predicated by a process which includes a new constitution... Anything else would be a circus.”

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