GOVERNMENT spokesman Nick Mangwana (pictured) has apparently relented on his sinister plot to campaign — with the assistance of Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba — to subvert the constitution and democracy by sabotaging the constitutional delimitation process, saying his political chicanery was just “flying a kite”.
Mangwana sparked uproar when he loudly proclaimed that the final delimitation report submitted to Mnangagwa by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba on 3 February 2023 was not final.
“CORRECTION: We have noted a number of social media reports to the effect that the Final Delimitation Report has been presented to HE the President. The Final Report has NOT yet been presented to His Excellency. When that happens the public will be informed. Thank you,” Mangwana posted on Twitter.
This was despite the fact that Chigumba had made it clear the report was final. The constitution is also abundantly clear that.
When Zec launched the delimitation soon after the preliminary report on the new population census was released in April last year, it produced a draft preliminary report that was submitted to Mnangagwa by Chigumba on 26 December 2022, giving the President seven days to table it before parliament for debate.
The report was tabled before parliament on 6 January 2023. It was discussed in the legislature and within 14 days the parliamentary ad hoc committee chaired by Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi produced a report on it and submitted the package to Mnangagwa.
Then Mnangagwa took the report and made his own input. Following that, it was sent back to Zec. After making corrections — taking into account parliament and the President’s contributions — Zec sent the final report to Mnangagwa on 3 February 2023.
The constitution spells out that process in unambiguous terms.
However, Mangwana disregarded that and initiated a campaign to create room for Mnangagwa to have a second bite of the cherry, saying the report was not final.
This meant Mnangagwa could edit – manipulate and change — the report, undermining the constitution. Zec has the final say on the report in terms of the law.
But Mangwana disregarded that. Charamba — who initially said it was final before he made U-turn — and Ziyambi joined in, claiming the report was not final. Ziyambi, a Justice minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, even went further, claiming the report was “basically for consideration” by the President.
This triggered uproar, with civil society organisations and analysts joining the fray to express outrage against government mandarins trying to subvert the law.
Even Speaker of Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda was forced to join the battle over the delimitation process and its resultant report. Mudenda told main opposition CCC MPs Wellington Chikombo and Prince Dubeko Sibanda to disregard what Mangwana, Charamba and Ziyambi had said, and just follow the constitution. Below is the full text of the conversation:
HON. CHIKOMBA: My matter of national importance is to do with the meeting that took place on 2nd February between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and His Excellency the President pertaining to the submission of the final report. This is in line with Section 239 and Section 161 of the Constitution.
THE HON. SPEAKER: In line with what?
HON. CHIKOMBO: Section 239 which gives mandate to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on delimitation and Section 161.
My issue is that post that meeting, we had varied statements that were uttered by Government functionaries which includes Mr. Mangwana and Mr. George Charamba claiming that the report that was given to the President is not final.
Those statements that were uttered have caused a lot of polarization, disharmony and anxiety across the country. I would want the Justice Minister to come through to elaborate to the House what the correct position is pertaining to that.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much for what you said but musateerere nyaya yemumanewspaper kana social media. Dai makabvunza nezuro kuna Acting Leader of Government Business kuti muwane tsananguro yakanaka. Do not go by newspaper reports or social media reports.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order? Are you clarifying my ruling?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am seeking clarification on your ruling— on whether to rely on media, social media or something of that sort.
THE HON. SPEAKER: So you want to seek clarification on my ruling?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Indeed, Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is not allowed Hon. Member — [AN HON. MEMBER: He is challenging.]
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am not challenging you Hon. Speaker, I just want to be …
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, let me help you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Help me Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Section 161 is very clear in terms of the processes. The report is tabled here in the House in Parliament, we scrutinize it and make our observations. We then submit to the Head of State and Government in terms of Section 161. Within the specified 14 days, the Head of State must submit to ZEC, which was done.
After that ZEC will start on whatever contributions or analysis that were done by the relevant stakeholders. They will look at them, make adjustment where it is possible and send those adjustments in a report to His Excellency.
Within 14 days, the President must gazette. What ZEC has said and done in that report is final. So why do you want to listen to people who talk from the side shows – [AN HON. MEMBER: Including Justice.] – It does not matter, you must follow the Constitution.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for that explanation, however it did not extend to the issues that I sought your clarification. It is clear in terms of the processes that have to be done.
However, the people that issued these statements are not ordinary citizens of this country. You are talking of a Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and the Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Communication.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you are a learned friend, just follow the Constitution — that is all. Do now worry about people who speak outside the Constitution.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: It is alright Hon. Speaker, I am sure the whole country is listening that they should not worry about these other commentators. What is happening Members on my right? No issue of national interest?
Delimitation Report: Speaker tells Parliament, do not listen to Nick Mangwana and George Charamba.