Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Party scrambles to protect grabbed farms

Zanu PF scrambles to protect grabbed farms

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:38

Nqobile Bhebhe

ZANU PF is scrambling for a clause in the draft constitution which will 
require 80% approval in a referendum to amend the constitution in reference 
to land issues, a move widely seen as an attempt to protect its senior 
officials and supporters who grabbed farms during the chaotic land reform 
exercise.
The proposal is among the 200 recommendations Zanu PF made on the draft 
constitution currently under discussion.

Most of the Zanu PF demands — which seek to fundamentally change the draft 
constitution — are geared towards preserving the current imperial presidency 
and institutional arrangements. But a compromise has been reached on most of 
the issues, according to the Independent’s briefings with negotiators.

Some of Zanu PF’s demands include that the military should be allowed to 
play an active part in national politics; the president should appoint 
commissions without parliamentary approval; there should be no 
constitutional court as demanded by the people but a “division” of the 
Supreme Court; there should not be devolution of power to the provinces; 
executive authority must only vest in the president and the president shall 
not be answerable to parliament on deploying troops, among other things.

Zanu PF also wanted the registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede to remain in charge 
of voter registration with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, whose staff it 
is refusing to change, only “supervising the process”. The party also wanted 
the Attorney-General to retain his prosecuting powers but not sit in cabinet 
and parliament.

It was also demanding the maintaining of the two vice-presidents, although 
the idea of a running mate, who automatically becomes the first 
vice-president, is being discussed. Seats in parliament will also be 
increased by 60 reserved for woman despite that the method of distribution 
is still in dispute.

On land, Zanu PF wanted Section 7.2 (a) of the draft to include it was 
“resolved to include the Land section 4.24, which requires 80% approval in 
referendum when amending the constitution in section 18.12”.

This is widely seen as an attempt to make land issues irreversible under 
the new constitution. President Robert Mugabe and senior Zanu PF officials, 
including ministers, seized vast tracts of land from displaced commercial 
farmers.

On devolution, Zanu PF wants it to be called “decentralisation” and be left 
to an Act of Parliament to deal with under the principles and tiers of 
government, although the issue has not been resolved.

Under the deal agreed by the parties last week, the country’s 10 provinces 
will each have a provincial assembly made up of MPs and senators from that 
region, representatives of local authorities and 10 individuals elected by 
proportional representation as well as a provincial governor.

“When it comes to the issue of governor, the provincial assembly will 
nominate two candidates for the post and forward the names to the president 
who will then formally appoint one of those,” one negotiator said.

Under the current constitution, the president appoints governors invariably 
from his party which lost the last election.

Zanu PF was also demanding that the proposed constitutional court must be 
deleted from the draft and replaced with “constitutional division of the 
Supreme Court”. The issue is one of the most contested matters as Zanu PF 
seems afraid of having different judges other than the current Supreme Court 
bench presiding over constitutional matters. Most of the current judges were 
elevated after the party had purged the bench of “undesirable elements” at 
the height of the land reform programme and political repression after 2000.

On the election of the president, Zanu PF wanted the 50 plus one concept, 
which is in the Electoral Act, to be revisited and embedded in the 
constitution. The party is also insisting on a clause which says the 
“president takes precedence over all persons in Zimbabwe” after the draft 
discarded this. 

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