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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Of compromised governments and constitutions

By Blessing Vava
Principals in the shacky coalition government
Zimbabwe’s  political crisis has been a hot subject in the region and beyond. In finding a solution to the unending  crisis, it  resulted in a compromised negotiated ‘Global Political Agreement’ of September 2008, that formed the inclusive government. Of great worry however was the fact that we ended up having a compromise document, a compromised government and all the processes that followed were compromises. All the parties had their own interpretation of the Agreement and up until now it is yet to be fulfilled.   Always remember that Zimbabweans spoke on the 29th of March  2008, and the clear message from that electoral result was that ZANU PF was no longer the majority party in Zimbabwe’s political arena. As a result the election that Mr Mugabe wanted to conduct in June 2008 was illegal and should be dismissed with contempt. It is foolhardy for any normal person  to claim victory in such a charade that did not have any semblance of legitimacy. Simply putting it, the June 27 ‘thing’ was not an election but a drama, meant to legitimise and confuse the world that indeed Robert Mugabe was the people’s choice.  What is surprising is that despite losing the only credible election in March, Mugabe is still wielding a lot of power ahead of his rival Tsvangirai who was undoubtedly the people’s favourite.    

With the people NCA Chairperson Prof Lovemore Madhuku
addressing villagers in Gokwe South

The greatest political suicide committed was allowing the three parties to negotiate on behalf of all Zimbabweans thereby forming an unelected government that had no legitimacy from the people. The negotiations even excluded people like Simba Makoni, who had polled 8% in the March elections and various other sections of society including the civic society. Shockingly, people like Mutambara, Ncube, and other electoral rejects at constituency level ended up occupying high positions in the governments and one wonders if the people’s wishes will ever be respected.   One of the many lessons we learnt when this illegal government was formulated is that politicians are selfish and their interest is power, luxuries at the expense of the people .  This government is illegal and it has no mandate from the people. It was only supposed to play a transitional role to pave way for a democratically elected regime. We are tired of compromises. But what worries me is the quietness of Zimbabweans when such scandals continue to hog our political environment. Compromised  governments which are not elected through democratic processes should be removed and never be allowed to continue operating especially when they lack direction, and take people for granted.

This takes me  to the question of the constitutional reform exercise being spearheaded by COPAC. COPAC has compromised the interests of Zimbabweans for political convenience and for their thirst of donor funds. Since inception  everything they touched turned to rust. Their first stakeholders meeting at Rainbow Towers was a big disaster which marked the beginning of a chaotic process that was nevertheless heavily funded. Surprisingly up until today COPAC is yet to come up with a consolidated draft constitution, three years after its inception, a draft that was supposed to be produced in 18 months.  And those who continue funding such dubious  processes need to be questioned since the reality on the ground   proved beyond any reasonable doubt that COPAC has failed to produce a constitution.  What are their motives to keep funding such a bogus, illegal and undemocratic process that undermines the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe and our national interests? The nation asks? COPAC is a threat to democracy and the sooner they are stopped the better.  Zimbabweans should not continue watching without  demanding  accountability from bodies like COPAC. Why did they waste our precious time gathering people in community halls at growth points under the guise of collecting our views to be included in the new charter whilst they knew they were not going to include them? I have always argued that the framework as articulated in Article 6 will never produce a good constitution for the country.  COPAC never wanted the views of Zimbabweans full stop, but rather they wasted our time and fundamentally they only wanted to enjoy donor funds poured in reckless abundance.

Tactfully smuggled the words 'people driven' to COPAC
former NCA vice Chairperson and now COPAC co-chairperson
Douglas Mwonzora   
 Ironically  president Mugabe had indicated that there was no need to consult the people because the parties had already crafted the Kariba draft. At least he was honest, he clearly re-affirmed his party's policy of imposing unpopular policies without the input of the citizens. I know for a fact that it was the MDC that incorporated the words, ‘people driven’ to COPAC, the words were the main messages  at the formation of the MDC at the National Working Peoples Conventions in 1999. Such words were alien to ZANU PF and they were the core message in the struggle for a new constitution for Zimbabwe spearheaded by the civic society.  Those who opposed Article 6 like the National Constitutional Assembly, were not fools; they knew that the words ‘people driven’ were meant to mislead Zimbabweans  into believing that indeed the process would be indeed people driven. The time is now for  those leading COPAC to be ashamed of themselves, swallow their pride and admit that they failed Zimbabweans. In doing so they should publicly apologise for taking the whole nation for a ride. Whatever draft they will eventually come out with,  it will certainly not contain the wishes and aspirations of the people but those of the negotiators and not even the membership of their respective parties.    

They have made it clear that they have agreed on the content and rectified some sections dumping what the views they collected during the outreach meetings. How scandalous was such a move!  The people stated clearly what they wanted and who then gave COPAC the right to change those views? Not that I supported the process, but why did they even allowed for the outreach. The time for Zimbabweans to demand accountability is now, COPAC should not be allowed again to continue operating; they should be disbanded as a matter of urgency to pave way for a truly independent body with no political inclinations to start a fresh process otherwise we keep wasting more money and resources to a process which will yield a nothing. The referendum should never be allowed to take place because the product of COPAC is not ours but that of the parties in government. However if they insist Zimbabweans will unite and reject the compromised document produced through a compromised and undemocratic process.  COPAC has scandalously and fraudulently compromised the interests of the nation for political expediency and hence they should be disbanded. Zvazviri! 

Blessing Vava is from Chipinge, he writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.com