Disregard for rule of law hampers new constitution: Mwonzora

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition last Saturday hosted a constitutional reform briefing targeted at Zimbabweans living in South Africa. MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora (MP), the Co-Chairperson of the Constitution Select Committee, commonly known as COPAC, told participants the writing of a constitution had to be undertaken in accordance to the provisions of the Global Political Agreement and focused on three fundamental principles, that is, it has to be people driven, all-inclusive, and democr

Douglas Mwonzora
Douglas Mwonzora

Mwonzora agreed that the constitution was behind time as it should have been put to a referendum in 2010. He cited a frustrating environment characterised by complete disregard for the rule of law, selective application of the law, where certain people are immune to arrest and others subject to victimisation by the law as one of the reasons for the delay in process.

He also said the Zimbabwean government was broke and has had to rely on donor communities to fund the process. The other hindrance delaying the constitution was the distrust among the political parties, resulting in constant fighting on several issues. At present, political parties are fighting over the definitions and approaches to quantitative and qualitative analysis of data.

COPAC has agreed on three principle drafters of the constitution. They are Justice Moses Chinhengo, Priscilla Madzonga, and Brian Crozier, who will be assisted by 17 legal experts.

Last week, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition confirmed that drafting of a new constitution would begin mid-November and that the three non-political actors named above will undertake the task. They are expected to retreat to the Eastern Highlands to do so. Iissues expected to dominate the body of the constitution are expected to include: term limits for the Executive and restrictions on the extent to which it can interfere with other arms of government; decentralisation; land (land audits, the Land Commission etc.), Bill of Rights; and the strengthening of Parliament and representation.

This constitution, if adopted, will be seen as one guiding Zimbabwe to becoming a post-conflict society that will go through a free and fair election that will result in a democratic transfer of power to the eventual winner, in stark contrast to the 2008 episode, recorded as one of the most chaotic and violent elections in the history of Zimbabwe.

Munjodzi Mutandiri of the National Constitutional Assembly demanded from COPAC a more active role for civil society actors in the final stages of the process. Mwonzora said CSOs were most welcome to monitor and observe the entire process.

Post published in: Politics

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