|Macho man-the powerful Mugabe, maintains his 'powers'|
By Blessing Vava
It took them close to three years, a whooping 45 million United States dollar to come up with a 164th paged document which they are saying is a proposed draft constitution for Zimbabwe. The so-called final draft is nothing but a copy and paste job from the Kariba Draft constitution crafted by the three parties in the GNU.
The ‘final’ draft, subsequently a product of the COPAC Management team which comprise negotiators from the three parties in government, the same people who crafted the first Kariba constitution in 2007. Indications coming out so far are that many Zimbabweans are not happy with the COPAC draft and it does not require a rocket scientist to tell you that come the referendum, the COPAC draft will be rejected resoundingly because it deviates from the views of the people. After spending huge sums of money, 3 years only to copy and paste the Kariba draft is scandalous and playing with the minds of millions of Zimbabweans whose desire is surely that of seeing a prosperous nation with good laws and an accountable government that respect their will. The politicians are taking us for granted and getting away with it, they are not even ashamed, in shona we will say ‘havana nyadzi.’
The two MDCs have already endorsed the draft urging Zimbabweans to vote YES in the referendum, with only ZANU PF so far saying they are agreeing with 97% of the contents pressing for more amendments to suit their needs. Finally the draft will sail through in parliament after the final changes to be made by the principals. Fascinatingly, three of the principals namely Mugabe, Ncube and Mutambara were rejected by the people of Zimbabwe in the March 2008 elections, funny how unelected people who Zimbabweans did not vote for obviously for lacking confidence in these individuals will now have a final say on the country’s supreme law. It will be very interesting to see both ZANU PF and the two MDCs campaigning for the YES vote during the referendum, that should show Zimbabweans how selfish politicians can be in protecting their interests. For their interests they unite. No Zimbabwean will forget the luxurygate scandal where the same politicians bought themselves top of the range luxury vehicles when the lives of citizens has not improved. With a population faced with starvation, lack of clean water, electricity, good education and health for the poor. Strange how those who questioned the rational of purchasing of these luxury vehicles at the expense of improving service delivery and paying civil servants were considered enemies of the state. Politicians defended themselves saying the vehicles were in synchrony with their new acquired status. The politics of opulence is their game, that is what the draft is essentially about. With a bloated national assembly with 210 members plus 88 senators a notion which the people of Zimbabwe have been critical of. Again all these members will be demanding hefty allowances and luxuries as we have witnessed with the current.
|Rejected by the electorate-MDC President Ncube and DPM Mutambara|
It is about power and wealth, nothing for the people. Initially they came to the people to ask for their views, later on they dump those views and negotiate their positions and again they will be shamelessly coming to the people to urge them to vote for a document which contains not their views but of politicians. How selfish? That is one of the reasons until now we have not seen the National Report which contains critical information and statistics of what Zimbabweans said during the outreach phase.
For the MDCT their satisfaction with the draft despite its flaws is regrettable to say the least. From my own analysis, as a party that is confident of winning the coming polls they are not seeing the flaws of the draft simply because they would also want to enjoy the same powers once in total control of government. It is all about power nothing else. Shame how people easily forget. Theirs is not to democratise this country as they purport but simply to be in power and replace ZANU PF so it now seems. Remember what the late ZANU PF legal affairs secretary Edison Zvobgo, who introduced executive powers in the constitution as he hoped to take over from Mugabe and enjoy the same as he harboured presidential ambitions. In the draft nothing has substantially changed with regards to the powers of the president as we are being made to believe. If anything the powers have been expanded only the term limits which have been reduced. Not long ago they (MDC) were complaining about too much executive powers vested in the presidency and this time their deafening silence on the issue raises a lot of questions than answers. The issue of an all powerful president is one of the reason why Mugabe is still in power using those powers to abuse Zimbabweans.
For that reason Zimbabweans should reject the draft, it does not matter whether its Mugabe or Tsvangirai who will be in power the point is we do not want an all powerful executive president, the experience with Mugabe opened our eyes and thus we rejected the Chidyausiku draft. The myopic thinking by the MDC is dangerous, they think that simply because ZANU PF is somehow appearing as if they are against the draft then automatically it makes the draft a good document. A wrong perception indeed, the same thinking they had during the GPA, when they thought that Tsvangirai had executive powers, only to be reminded regularly that Mugabe is the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the defence forces. And the GPA has proved Tsvangirai as a ceremonial senior Minister premier with no power. In this draft, I believe that it is ZANU PF that benefitted the most, they managed to block issues like real devolution, diaspora vote in the final draft and these are some of the critical issues which the MDC were clamouring for. The constitution is a very important document that should live beyond individuals it should be a contract between the governor and the governed something that is missing from the COPAC draft.
Essentially the debate on the draft especially by the ZANU PF pressing for further amendments is alarming. Very surprising that they are now meeting to debate the draft and make positions but in the first place each party had negotiators and these negotiators should have been constantly updating their party on the progress. The principals should have had an idea on the contents of the document before it was delivered to them and now we are being told the principals will have a final say to the draft. It’s really a circus.
In this long process we had been hearing reports that the principals, politburo etc were being briefed on the process time and again. We wonder what they were really doing, was it not scrutinising? Are they afraid of their initial judgement or is it ZANU PF feels they lost in the negotiations or rather they are just playing politics? Something fishy here. They should have been instituting checks and balances periodically not to wait this long to start scrutinising the draft again.
Lastly I am flabbergasted by COPAC’s 2nd All stakeholders conference needing 2 million dollars, a meeting which they are saying will give the public an opportunity to ‘interrogate’ the draft, but perceptibly they will not be in a position to change its contents. The question which a lot of Zimbabweans are asking is why are they wasting such an amount on a process that will not change the draft rather than just subject that constitution to the referendum so that people decide if they want it or not. Besides, of the 2000 delegates proposed by COPAC only 200 will not be coming from the three main parties so why waste our time?
Blessing Vava is a blogger from Chipinge. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org