Polarisation overshadows endorsement for a draft constitution

Factional infighting in ZANU PF is threatening to scupper a proposed draft constitution that enhances democracy but contains measures that they say go against the ‘revolutionary party’ values.

Some within ZANU PF want to remove clauses from the constitution that prohibits the President from unilaterally deploying troops without parliamentary approval.

Others are backing the draft, which they say strengthens democracy. The draft however retains an executive president, though with stronger checks and balances, plus a measure of devolution to the country’s provinces.

But differences between the country’s leading political parties are still wide, illustrating a persistently worrying polarisation of politics. The drafting of a new constitution is part of the deal that ended Zimbabwe’s bloody election violence of 2008.

State sponsored violence left over 500, mainly MDC-T supporters dead in three months of political retribution. A power sharing deal struck between the three parties in the GPA eased violence for a while and stabilized the economy. But the violence is escalating again with talk of an election.

The draft that was released last month seeks to eliminate the problems that led to the post-election violence. While many in the Civil Society Organisations and other political parties see the draft as a good document, there are fears mounting in ZANU PF that the new draft erodes its unfettered power attained at independence in 1980.

Blessing Vava, information officer with the National Constitutional Assembly told SW Radio Africa that the only way to resolve difference between the political parties is to visit the national report compiled after the outreach program.

‘It’s sad that COPAC is deviating from set down rules that a national report should be published to give people an opportunity to have a glimpse of views gathered during the outreach program.

‘At least through this way, it would give Zimbabweans an informed opinion when they get to see the final draft,’ Vava said.

Dewa Mavhinga, the regional coordinator for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told us from what he has seen of the draft, it represents a momentous step for institutional stability.

The draft decentralizes the government’s power, strengthens checks and balances, enables democracy to flourish and provides even greater protections for individual rights.

As a result of these changes, many believe that democracy in Zimbabwe, if ever there is a new constitution, will be stronger than ever because credible institutions bring lasting stability. – SW Radio Africa News

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