Sunday, June 23, 2024

Zimbabwe’s Draft Constitution takes nation back to drawing board

Zimbabwe’s political parties never seem to get anything right.

They are so mediocre it is painful.

It is difficult to understand how they could spend so many years and so many millions of dollars to produce a document that many of them now say has defects, with one side wanting the draft constitution and the other refusing to accept their own product.

Everyone of those political parties that took part in the drafting of the draft constitution now criticise some part or other of the same draft.

The two MDC formations, along with ZANU-PF, spent millions of American dollars at exclusive retreats around the country for many years and two weeks ago announced that they had finalised the draft constitution.

Immediately after that, members from both formations of the MDC announced, one after the other, their support of the draft constitution and immediately started advising people to vote yes, in acceptance.

It was disheartening, to say the least, that the architects of this silly document were using their positions to campaign for the document ahead of a referendum on the same. Does that in itself not constitute a conflict of interest?

Considering that the people of Zimbabwe had very little input into this draft constitution, we can safely conclude that this draft constitution was written by the politicians for the politicians.
To make matters worse, all the political parties involved in the drafting of the constitution have members among them who do not agree with some provisions of the draft.

The latest to break ranks is MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo, who happens to be Speaker of Zimbabwean parliament and who is particularly unhappy with the issue of a president being compelled to choose two running mates.

Ironically, if MDC-T observes their party’s protocol, Moyo would be Tsvangirai’s second vice presidential running mate.

“I do not know where they took it (idea of running mates) from, but I hear we were trying to accommodate two vice-presidents,” Moyo said. “The thing will cause many political parties problems. We are putting our presidents in a difficult position…It will lead to divisions in the party.”
Moyo then added: “It means we go back to our congress and realign ourselves.”

That is the best piece of advice for all those parties that took part in the production of this meaningless document.

They should start afresh and this time making sure that the people are accorded their rightful place and are allowed to give their input freely.

We should not rush into accepting a faulty document and claim we did our best “under the prevailing conditions”. That is faulty and dangerous for the nation.

ZANU-PF has rejected the draft constitution after declaring before that they accepted more than 95% of the draft.

Now they have totally rejected it.

ZANU-PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, said that the draft constitution does not reflect the views of Zimbabweans.

“The document has left quite a number of things that were raised by people during the outreach programme,” Gumbo said. “The draft did not capture some of the people’s views…we want to make sure that the people’s views are included.”

He did not mention that it was ZANU-PF that violently prevented people from giving their input towards the draft constitution.

Although ZANU-PF is rejecting the draft constitution for its own selfish intentions, which have nothing to with the people, they are right that the draft does not reflect the views of the people. It was they who made sure that the people’s views were not collected, now they are using that as an excuse.

I am not impressed by the fact that the same people who fooled around in expensive hotels spending so much time and money came up with something that is hardly acceptable to even some of their own members.

So whose draft constitution is it? And if they themselves quarrel over its acceptance, how can they expect to hold a referendum over a draft constitution which they themselves find lacking in many parts?

Why should we, the people, accept it?

One thing is for sure, it is not a people’s draft constitution and we have to revisit the whole thing and give people the access to put their views forward.

There is already too much acrimony and the disagreements by the same people who wrote this document are, in themselves, the best campaign pointers for the people to reject the constitutional draft.
We should not negotiate a constitution; we should listen to the people who are very willing and able to tell us what kind of constitution they want, what kind of government they want and how they want to be ruled and governed.

While we are on this, the political parties that participated in the drawing up of this draft constitution must be barred from campaigning for this draft, either for or against.
There has to be a point where people take precedence and their views upheld.

If people are given time to go over this document and are not threatened, they will reject it without a second thought because it is a faulty draft that is paving way for Zimbabwe’s disastrous future.

I passionately dislike statements by both Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, the two leaders of the two MDC formations, that they support the draft constitution and there is to be no further negotiations.

Like hell there won’t! Just who do they think they are? They must take this piece of rubbish and shove it!

Zimbabwe needs a constitution for the nation not a “Dear John” letter to political cronies.
Tsvangirai and Ncube support this faulty draft apparently feeling that the concessions they got from ZANU-PF are good enough for them to corner Mugabe with while Mugabe and his ZANU-PF feel that the sum total of the concessions they made weakens the presidency. They assume they will always remain in power.

Too many things were left out and too many useless concessions were made.
The draft constitution is an embarrassing piece of trash written for party leaders and their political parties, not for the people of Zimbabwe.

Having lived under the negotiated Lancaster House Constitution for decades, Zimbabweans must not be deliberately asked to vote for yet another negotiated constitution where some of their rights are taken away in an exchange between political parties that want to safeguard their political survival at the expense of the wellbeing of the nation and the people of Zimbabwe.

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