|President Mugabe-can refuse to sign the draft|
By Blessing Vava
The previous weeks Zimbabweans have witnessed continued bickering of the parties in the inclusive government with ZANU PF making several attempts to distance itself from the Kariba draft constitution, with improved english renamed COPAC Final Draft. The Kariba-COPAC draft is a negotiated document containing the views of the three political parties in the inclusive government. Surprisingly ZANU-PF which was and still part of COPAC and has representatives at the select and management committee level, and played a significant and pivotal role to produce the COPAC draft constitution are now cleverly acting as if it is a product of the two MDC formations probably ashamed of its contents which are not the views of the people. They might be doing so to expose the two MDC formations who, despite clamouring for a people driven process hastily endorsed the bad draft whose contents are not the views of Zimbabweans. ZANU PF is claiming that the draft is deviating from the views and the ‘will’ of the people. Surely this is hypocrisy of the highest magnitude. They think that by claiming to be pushing for the ‘peoples views’ as captured in the national report they will get sympathy from Zimbabweans who by the way have already expressed outrage on the contents of the draft. Simply because the process was marred by violence, missed timelines and coaching..
|COPAC Fraud team-left to right Mwonzora, Mangwana and Mkhosi|
ZANU PF’s opposition to the draft
Interestingly many Zimbabweans are being fooled to believe that ZANU PF is going to campaign for a NO vote in the referendum, a thinking which is not only naive but parochial and thoughtless. Not in a million years will we have such a scenario. We have been made to believe that ZANU PF is joining hands with other progressive formations like the NCA in resisting the political party driven Kariba-COPAC Final draft. However Zimbabweans should understand that the GPA requires that the parties agree and if one of the political parties pulls out of the process it will signal the collapse of it and there will be no referendum to talk of. It also means that the parties will have to support the draft in parliament to enable it to be tabled for the referendum. Basically it means if ZANU PF is not interested they will simply block the draft during its debating in parliament to make sure it does not get the required two thirds majority thereby automatically collapsing the process. After all it is President Mugabe who will have the final say of presenting the draft for the referendum and even tabling the dates. The Referendums Act of 1999 and amended in 2004 Under section 3 of the Act, ‘’...the President has power to call a referendum, to state the question to be put to voters at the referendum, and to fix the dates and times of polling.’’ And if he does not like it he will simply not append his signature on the document nor even call for that referendum.
Therefore it will be foolhardy for anyone to believe that ZANU PF will even allow for the referendum to take place if they do not like the document. ZANU PF's opposition to the draft is merely for expediency but for us in the NCA it is about principle. It is the NCA that dismissed Article 6, on the basis that it lacked the ingredients of what we envisage as a people driven process. But ZANU PF together with two MDC formations ganged up in attacking the NCA as a spoiler who do not want a new charter for the country. ZANU-PF is now taking advantage of the defectiveness of the process, so the two MDCs should not cry foul because they allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by the enemy. Simply put, the two MDC formations equally surrendered principle on the alter of political convenience. In fact they ate and slept with the enemy, who basically was a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. They enjoyed the donor funds together, enjoyed the lavish hotel life and outrageous allowances under the guise of writing a constitution. And the truth that finally came out that it was just a cover to enjoy the huge monies poured in by donors.
The NCA and its NO Vote Campaign
Since its formation, the NCA has never waived and has always been clear that the process of constitution making should not be a prerogative of politicians alone but the entire citizenry. We clearly understand that the constitution making process is important and that if we leave it to be led by politicians alone, it will be open to manipulation and the product will reflect their wishes and not those of the plebeians, as is the case now. Fundamentally, we campaigned for the rejection of the Chidyausiku Draft because of the nature of the process that produced that draft and also its contents which deviated from what the people had said during the outreach phase. Let it be known that the NO vote of 2000 was never a mistake, contrary to some flyby night critics and armchair politicians, some of whom were part of that campaign. They even suggest that the NO vote was not about the draft but simply a protest vote against Mugabe and his cronies. Further they claim that the draft was a better document and had it that we accepted it Mugabe could have been gone. NO! Constitutions are not written for individuals/personalities, but for the country and posterity, these are lasting documents that should live beyond mere individuals and personalities.
|TAKE Charge and Complete the Change!|
Today the same people are working day and night fooling Zimbabweans that we should not repeat, what they are calling a ‘mistake’ made in 2000 in rejecting the COPAC draft, arguing that its better than the current one because it will bar Mugabe from seeking more terms, literally they are suggesting that the document has curtailed Mugabe’s powers and this will be his exit certificate. Such dangerous and suicidal assertions and disillusions are surely coming from a power hungry section of politicians who see themselves in charge of the country after Mugabe and they think that this process was undertaken so that we have elections that will remove Mugabe. The constitution making process and elections are two distinct processes that should not be inter-linked. Of course we do not want the coming elections to be conducted under the Lancaster House constitution because of its flaws that Mugabe has been using to entrench his dictatorship.
For the upcoming elections we suggest that there be certain key electoral reforms that will enable a somehow free and fair election and thereafter we undertake a constitutional reform process that is truly independent, democratic and people driven. Amendment 18 to a certain extent did just that, and the March 2008 election was relatively free and fair and no party contested its outcome. And this should be made clear that the role of progressive formations like the NCA is not only of opposing what the government does, but to enlighten the citizenry and lobby government to agree on the need for a people driven process that will enable the views of the masses to be incorporated into that constitution. That is basically our role, and we will not apologise to anyone for that. For far too long politicians have waylaid Zimbabweans and we urge Zimbabweans to reject the draft by COPAC because it essentially failed to capture the views of Zimbabweans and equally a majority did not manage to input into that document because of the defectiveness of the process.
Blessing Vava is in the NCA Take Charge Campaign technical committee and a member of the Committee of the Peoples' Charter (CPC)