Crisis at Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
30 April 2007
By Fortune Tazvida
Rumblings of discontent have rocked the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition ahead of their annual general meeting on Friday the 4th of May. At the centre of controversy are rumoured attempts by current Chairperson Arnold Tsunga to extend his term of office for a second year. Traditionally CIZ chairpersons serve for one year before handing the baton to other members of the civic society groups that form part of the coalition.
A member of the coordinating committee within the organisation told Nehanda Radio that although human rights lawyer Tsunga had not openly declared his intention to seek re-election, his backers amongst them Jacob Mafume the National Coordinator of CIZ and a board member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) where Tsunga works, are reportedly trying to engineer his prolonged stay in the position. Out of 5 committees that make up CIZ only 1, the peace building committee, has backed Tsunga. All the others including the Advocacy, Youth and Information Committees are opposed to his re-election. The Human Rights committee is yet to meet but then their nomination would be invalid because any endorsements have to be made 14 days before the ballot.
The source told Nehanda Radio that although nothing in the constitution of the organisation specifically bars Tsunga from standing for a second term if he so wishes, he would be clearly breaking a long standing tradition of chairpersons serving one term in the group. The only other official to serve two terms of one year each was Professor Brian Raftopolous, only because the organisation was still in its infancy then. Ever since, it is an unwritten rule that chairpersons serve one term, the source said. Thoko Matshe, Dr John Makumbe and Brian Kagoro have all served as CIZ Chairpersons for one year each.
Efforts by Nehanda Radio to get in touch with Tsunga proved fruitless as his phone was not reachable. The 4 May elections will likely pit Tsunga and Joy Mabhenge the Director of the Zimbabwe Coaltion on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD). Last year the Chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Dr Lovemore Madhuku courted controversy after manipulating his own organisation's constitution and standing for re-election. He won amidst accusations of violence and intimidation from his opponents. The source said this was a worrying development in civil society because its own leaders who are critical of Mugabe end up behaving like Mugabe and cling on to their positions.
Peace and Tranquility???
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