Zanu (PF)’s last ditch effort

Having failed to convince the Sadc Summit in Luanda, Angola, last week, that Zimbabwe should be allowed to go for elections as soon as possible, with or without a new constitution, Zanu (PF) has now decided that the only viable option left is to derail the Committee of Parliament on the Constitution (Copac), so that it will not succeed in delivering a democratic constitution draft.

John Makumbe
John Makumbe

Most of the new demands spelt out in the former liberation movement’s 29-page document are so glaringly undemocratic that it befuddles the mind how anyone could make such demands in this day and age.

For example, they demand that the military be allowed to participate in national politics. This goes against the democratic grain in virtually all sensible countriesof the world. It would be utter folly to allow fully armed persons to compete against unarmed civilians for political positions and policy initiatives.

Zanu (PF) is also demanding that the issue of devolution be eliminated from the draft constitution. This has been rejected by the two MDC formations on the basis that it was part of the views of the people in at least six of the 10 administrative provinces during the outreach meetings. Zanu (PF) is therefore seeking to force Copac to reject the views of the people that it finds politically unpalatable.

The party is also strongly opposed to the trimming of presidential powers in the draft constitution. One of the reasons for this is that they always think the presidential powers that will be targeted will be those of President Mugabe. Little do they ever think that by the time this draft constitution comes into force there may be someone other than Mugabe in the presidential office.

They are petrified of what Mugabe might do to them should they agree to the trimming of presidential powers – his powers.

Further, the former ruling party would like the President, presumably Mugabe, to be free to deploy the national army both inside and outside the country without consulting anyone or any state body, including Parliament.

Here again the MDC formations must remain resolute that such provisions have no place in a democratic constitution. This nation is aware of the cost that we paid as a result of Mugabe’s unilateral action in deploying the national army to the DRC to defend Kabila.

After the four year stint, our soldiers came back empty-handed. By that time, Zanu (PF) had so effectively ruined the national economy that none of our business entities could afford to invest in the lucrative DRC economy. Smarter entrepreneurs form other countries such as South Africa easily became the major beneficiaries of the fragile peace that our armed forces had paid a hefty price for.

Mugabe and his party must not be allowed to hold this nation to ransom by making last minute demands on Copac to change the draft constitution in a manner that will only force the electorate to reject the document at the referendum. A NO vote at the referendum would be sweet music to Zanu (PF) since it would, most likely, force this nation to go for elections under the much amended Lancaster House Constitution.

Post published in: Analysis

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