MDC Will Not Budge:( A reply to Jonathan Moyo)

In his latest article in the Sunday Mail (11.03.12),Professor Jonathan Moyo raised the following issues: that Prime Minister Tsvangirai is inciting violence and must be arrested, that the conclusion of the current constitution making process has to be delayed and that the process should only be pursued after elections. Further he asserts that it was better for Copac to enlist the services of Dr. Lovemore Madhuku instead of Mr. Hassen Ebrahim as its consultant. He ends up by giving the Copac p

Jonathan Moyo
Jonathan Moyo

That Professor Moyo finds nothing good about Prime Minister Tsvangirai is as obvious as many an MDC cadre finds nothing good about President Mugabe. However the temptation that Professor Moyo apparently falls into is always to taint any possible narration of words or deeds associated with Prime Minister Tsvangirai with personal prejudice and propaganda.

The position of Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the MDC regarding elections is well known. Any future elections in Zimbabwe must produce a leadership that is an undoubted and undoubtable manifestation of the will of the people of Zimbabwe. In other words it must be a product of the free expression of the people's will.

This necessarily means that in this election there must be total eradication of all forms of election violence and especially state sponsored violence. To that end anything that causes violence or gives any section or group of people the incentive for engaging in violence must be totally eradicated.

For example the selective application of the law whereby some people are constantly harassed by the law enforcement agents while others are never prosecuted despite committing offences must be completely eradicate. The police must be allowed to bring all perpetrators of political violence to book without fear or favour. Further, all hate language propagated against political opponents through the public media must disappear altogether. The public broadcaster must stop acting as a mouthpiece of one political party.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai, the people of Zimbabwe and the entire leadership of SADC have already expressed a determination to avoid any future general election in Zimbabwe that replicates the 2008 presidential runoff election. The Global Political Agreement clearly spells out all those reforms that have to be undertaken before an election can be called in Zimbabwe.

Through the SADC initiative our negotiators embarked on the construction of a road map towards free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. This is a clear acknowledgement by all political parties that the playing field has to be levelled before elections can be called for. A few things remain outstanding on that road map. One such thing is that the MDC is insisting that it is unfair to allow the same secretariat that ran the sham June 2008 elections to be tasked with running any future elections.

Further, steps must be taken to ensure that there will be no state sponsored violence and that the police, CIO and army officers must not seek to influence the outcome of this election as this is a purely civilian process. Although the negotiators agreed on the elimination of hate speech the responsible minister who is ZANU PF has not effected that agreement and the MDC remains a victim of unprecedented vitriol and hate speech.

The gist of what President Tsvangirai has been saying is that, calling for an election without levelling the playing field is a recipe for disaster. If those factors that provide incentives for some people to engage in violence are not eradicated then the calling of an election is akin to a declaration of war against the hapless masses of Zimbabwe.

People will be butchered in cold blood as happened in June 2008. The mark of a good leader is to see disaster from the distance and seek to avert it. It is surprising therefore to see Professor Moyo calling on the pliable Attorney General Tomana to prosecute President Tsvangirai for speaking the truth. Justice demands that the likes of Professor Moyo applaud the Prime Minister for his statesmanship, abnegation and farsightedness.

Professor Moyo argues that the new constitution is not necessary before the next election. This argument is difficult to comprehend. The Global Political Agreement to which ZANU PF is a signatory clearly spells out that the constitution making process must be embarked upon. This process is a key ingredient of Zimbabwe's democratization agenda. For the past three years, ZANU PF has been an active participant in the constitution making process and has even determined key events in this process.

It is represented in the Select Committee and the management committee which are the bodies running this process. Both bodies agree that the constitution must be completed without delay. In crafting the roadmap, all the negotiators from across the political devide have agreed that the completion of the constitution exercise is a key milestone in the journey towards free and fair elections. For ZANU PF to start arguing otherwise is highly confusing.

More ominous is the suggestion that the constitution process must be delayed. We have already been running the process for three years and the state and its cooperating partners have pumped in millions of dollars in the process. The people of Zimbabwe participated in the public outreach exercise and spoke on what they want included in the constitution. They are waiting patiently for the official draft to see whether their views were adequately covered.

To that end the Select Committee is in the process of finalizing the revision of the draft constitution so that it can be presented to the people of Zimbabwe. From an objective point of view the work is therefore almost completed. The question that arises is, given all this progress, why are some people now calling for the same process to be delayed? The inescapable conclusion is that these people feel so comfortable under the current constitution and do not want the changes that the people of Zimbabwe so clearly demanded.

There is a suggestion that Copac should have hired Dr. Lovemore Madhuku as its consultant instead of Mr. Hassan Ebrahim. This is also a very surprising submission from Professor Moyo given his publicly stated views on Dr. Madhuku . However it may be of interest to note that when Copac was formed the Co-Chairpersons approached Dr. Madhuku as a representative of a key stakeholder in civil society with a view of engaging him constructively in this process. For reasons best known to himself Dr. Madhuku flatly refused and we could not force him to work with us.

Before the commencement of the constitution making process the government of Zimbabwe signed a project document with the UNDP representing the donors. This project document provided among other things that the UNDP would assist Copac with technical expertise that it would require from time to time. Pursuant to this agreement Copac hired technical experts from such countries as Uganda, Kenya and South Africa to provide expert advice on various issues.

In its wisdom the Copac wanted a technical advisor to work with it during the drafting process. It preferred somebody who had been associated with successful constitution making processes either in his home country or elsewhere in the world. This person had to be an authority in constitutional law and constitution making. It found Mr. Hassen Ebrahim the most suitable candidate.

Mr. Ebrahim was closely associated and did successfully administer the constitution making program in South Africa. Anybody objective would confirm that South Africa has one of the best constitutions in the world. He also worked in similar projects in Nepal, Somalia, Uganda and Zimbabwe during the days of the Constitutional Commission.He is the author of a serminal book entitled the 'Soul of a Nation' which details how the South Africans successfully crafted their constitution.Regrettably all experts we knew from Zimbabwe have never run any successful constitution making programs that we know.

Those who ran the 2000 project attracted the disapproval of Zimbabweans as evidenced in the rejection of their work by the people of Zimbabwe in the referendum. We also drew much comfort from the fact that Mr. Ebrahim was at one time engaged to work with Professor Moyo during the Constitutional Commission days. The people of Zimbabwe may also want to know that Professor Moyo and his colleagues in the Constitutional Commission, engaged exactly the same drafters that Copac have now engaged.

It appears that as long as he was working with Professor Moyo in 1999 and 2000 Mr. Ebrahim was a good man and ceased to be so because he is now working in a program in which Professor Moyo is not. It appears that when the current drafters were working for the Constitutional Commission of which Professor Moyo was part they were good people but they have ceased to be so simply because they are working with a program in which Professor Moyo is not involved!

That Copac will produce a constitution that Zimbabweans will overwhelmingly vote for is beyond any doubt. We hope that those who failed to bring a new constitution for Zimbabwe or were dropped from Copac for their incompetency are not allowed to succeed in disturbing this process. The people of Zimbabwe must decide on whether of not Copac has failed in the referendum.

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