Hands off constitution drafters

History shows us that constitutions are born out of struggles. At the cornerstone of a democratic constitution is the desire to create a just and equitable society premised on the rule of law.

Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma

In crafting the new supreme law of our land, party and personal interests should be fought against in order to create a democratic system that has the capacity to outlive its founders. The process should be divorced from the interests of individual leaders and their elite interests.

But the process is already flawed as the GPA allowed political parties to lead it. The road has been rocky all the way so far. But of all the problems it has faced, the current ones aimed at stopping the whole process need serious interrogation.

We need to appreciate the political game plan of Zanu (PF) and its surrogates who are behind the plan.

They want to go for the next elections under the current constitution in which their candidate, President Robert Mugabe, enjoys imperial powers. He wants to continue running the country like a monarch.

In order to do this, they will disrupt the process and then lobby SADC and President Jacob Zuma to have elections without reforms – thus favouring Zanu (PF)’s undemocratic political culture.

Their strategy is both to instill fear in the drafters and also use the baseless accusation that the will of the people is not reflected to stop the exercise and lobby SADC to have elections. If they manage to outwit the MDC parties at this level, then SADC will have no option.

The former ruling party will attempt to convince SADC that as people’s views have allegedly been distorted and discarded by the drafters, Zimbabwe should be allowed to have elections and the resultant government be allowed to lead the process of Constitutional reform.

In December, Mugabe hinted during the Zanu (PF) Annual Conference that the party would not accept the Constitutional Draft if it did not capture the position of his party. I could sense that things were not going according to his plan.

It could have be an unwritten resolution of the conference that any reforms to the constitution could further jeopardize its limited capacity to win future elections. What followed was the leaking of parts of the draft in The Herald.

The drafts showed that Zanu (PF) had been outwitted by the MDCs.

The repressive apparatus that they used to control the process had failed to produce the intended outcomes.

Their control of the hardware part of the political process through violent state machinery had been outwitted by the software tactics of its opponents.

It can also be argued that Zanu (PF) sent the hardware elements to the thematic committees and they were again outwitted at the level of ideas, data processing and capture.

They are now determined to redress this failure – but they are accusing the wrong people: the drafters.

In actual fact they lost the game from the beginning by emphasizing violence and providing quantities of useless material that have no constitutional relevance and have therefore been discarded by the professional drafters.

A referendum organized within the rule of law should settle the problem.

If indeed, the people’s views were tampered with, the people will decide that during the plebiscite.

How can a political party that has never won a referendum, which lost the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections just recently behave as if it enjoys the support of the voting population? Is that not delusional?

SADC must not allow Zanu (PF) to block the process of constitutional reform. Together with the AU, they must be lobbied to understand the political game being played here.

Those who are fighting for democratic and political reforms should raise their game.

The fundamental freedoms of Zimbabwean citizens will be realized when men and women resist attempts to entrench a political regime through a flawed and undemocratic constitution.

Post published in: Politics

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