No more negotiating: MDC

Political haggling delayed the completion of a new constitution for more than two years. But the war is far from over. Zanu (PF) is setting the stage for a showdown with its coalition partners over the adoption of the draft constitution through a fresh cocktail of demands that many say is a deliberate ploy.

The two MDC formations, which have endorsed draft, have vowed that they will not accede to any more demands from the former ruling party. Marathon meetings of Zanu (PF)’s politburo have revealed that the party is not comfortable with a number of issues regarding executive powers, decentralisation, citizenship, the role of parliament and the place of new institutions.

MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, on Friday said his party would resist any efforts by Zanu (PF) to force renegotiation of the draft, saying the party was holding the nation to ransom.

“We have negotiated enough as political partners and it is now time for the people of Zimbabwe to decide and we should not take away their right to do so. Zanu (PF) has said they are happy with 97% of the draft constitution and that must be enough.”

Analysts admit that the draft is flawed, but say it is impossible for a negotiated process to completely please everyone. Many believe the two MDC formations have made too many compromises already.

‘’It must be remembered that hardline negotiators like Robert Mugabe had to be reined in by the likes of Joshua Nkomo and Josiah Tongogara after threatening to go back to the war because they didn’t agree with some parts of the Lancaster House constitution. What has changed now?’’ said an analyst who preferred anonymity.

MDC-N President, Welshman Ncube, said it was no longer possible to revise the draft constitution, and his party would not give in to any new demands. Attempts to revise the draft would derail the whole process and cripple chances for a free and fair election, he added.

“Enough of us as politicians and partners talking. Let us give a chance to the people of Zimbabwe to also talk and make their judgment. Anyone who feels they cannot accept this constitution is free to go and campaign against it at the referendum,” said Ncube.

Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said his party was yet to come up with a position on the draft constitution as ‘‘we are still working on it’’.

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