PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe told MPs Monday “to know where power resides” as he insisted that coalition government principals would have the final say on the country’s new constitution.
The Zanu PF leader was addressing some 1,300 delegates from all political parties and civic groups attending the two-day conference on the country’s new constitution, a key step towards elections to replace the country’s deeply divided coalition government.
Early this month it was revealed that Mugabe, along with top rival and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as well as deputy premier Arthur Mutambara, planned to take over the constitutional reform process from Copac and determine between themselves final changes to the new charter.
And on Monday Mugabe told legislators, who make up Copac, to “know where power resides” and reminded them that the reform process had been initiated by coalition principals when they inked the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Said Mugabe: “Ndisu takanyora chiya chamunoti GPA, tikachiendesa kuParliament tikati maMP vhoterai chinhu ichi. Vose vakachivhotera vachitya kudzingwa. Zvino ndodemocracy here iyoyo?
“We started this process pasina democracy. Sometime Parliament thinks it’s so sovereign that it controls the Principals. Ah kwete; we are the ones who caused everything.
“Mwonzora naMangwana wako manga mavakuvhaira. Sometimes people fail to know where power is derived from and we the principals are the ones who caused this process and we are going to be involved throughout,” said Mugabe.
But Mugabe’s remarks contrasted sharply with Tsvangirai who had earlier said the Principals would only play “guidance role” adding that “We have no intention to tamper with the process. It is a Parliament process.”
The Zanu PF leader however urged delegates to carefully examine carefully the draft and make objective contributions and appealed for peace and tolerance throughout the deliberations.
He said: “Let us be peaceful in our conduct, let us shame our detractors who think Zimbabweans cannot solve their problems without violence. The improvements you wish to make must be done in a manner which is objective, truthful and in a manner which takes into account what the people said.
“Everywhere we are praised as an enlightened people because our own literacy rates which is 92% and if we are on that level, that intellectual level, settling things through (violence) instead of dialogue and discussion is primitive.
“If we are to go back to violence then zvinokoromoka zvese and we, we at the top, we are responsible to give direction to those at the bottom,” said Mugabe.
Mugabe said the successful completion of the process would lead to new elections in March next year.
“Isu hatinyangiri vanhu. Even as we go to elections our campaign must be clear kana usingade kundivhotera haundide haundide varipowo vanondidawo zvinovamwe vanobva vati wandirambirei,” said Mugabe.
Meanwhile, MDC leader Welshman Ncube boycotted the official opening ceremony querying the involvement of Mutambara. The pair is locked in a court battle over the leadership of the party.