Zanu (PF) clings to dictatorship

It certainly befuddles the mind why the former revolutionary party Zanu (PF) has amended the Copac draft constitution to eliminate all references to democratic society. This is obviously an attempt to hold onto the dictatorship they have been accustomed to all these years.

The numerous amendments that Zanu (PF) is demanding be incorporated in the Copac draft clearly demonstrate that the party has learnt nothing positive through the three-year constitution-making process. One such amendment pertains to the redefinition of agricultural land to include any land that may be used for raising poultry! The idea is to make any such land vulnerable to compulsory acquisition by the state, including buildings where chickens are kept.

They have also deleted the provision requiring presidential candidates to nominate running mates in preference to the status quo, where the elected President will appoint the two Vice Presidents. The desperation to cling onto dictatorship is evident throughout the proposed amendments in a sickening manner.

Further, the amendments seek to restore the existing presidential immunity clearly as a way to shield President Mugabe from prosecution for any misdemeanours that he may have done in the past 32 years. Well, this is not going to wash with the majority of the people of this country. Also restored are the current powers of the President to declare war and deploy the national army both inside and outside the country without having to consult or inform any other structure of the state.

Under the Zanu (PF) amended draft, all state institutions are obliged to defend and promote the so-called values of the liberation struggle. Perhaps this means that structures like the national radio and television must regularly feature the Mbare Chimurenga Choir and such other noxious kongonya dancers. It becomes very clear to most of us that without the resort to the long concluded liberation struggle, Zanu (PF) remains naked and totally unimpressive to the majority of the electorate in this country. The party no longer has anything meaningful to offer to the people. Its ideas are stuck in the liberation mode, without which the party is moribund.

It is also proposed by the former revolutionary party to strip the Speaker of Parliament of all administrative powers, which are then transferred to the Clerk of Parliament. It is easy to observe that most of these ridiculous amendments are being made with the current occupancy of the position in mind.

It is laughable to think that all those old men and women would spend so many hours pouring over such trivial matters simply because the current Speaker of Parliament is an MDC-T member, while the current Clerk of Parliament is one of their number.

They act as if the next election results are already known to them; perhaps they are. They went further to increase the number of Senators by a further four seats. This is in the face of limited resources and a bloated legislature that the nation can hardly afford. This must be rejected by the people as it was never their view during the outreach meetings. In fact, most people advocated a smaller legislature than even what the Copac draft envisages.

The Copac draft makes provision for Parliament to dissolve itself rather than to be dissolved by the President. The Zanu (PF) draft indicates a preference for the current situation, which is easily subject to abuse as we have experienced in the past. Both MDC formations are duty bound to reject this if they are to be consistent with what the people said. Here again, the former ruling party is seeking to appease Mugabe as if he will be the winner of the next Presidential election.

In an attempt to hoodwink the traditional chiefs, the Zanu (PF) draft proposes that one chief be made a member of the Judicial Service Commission. It is not clear what the purpose of such an inclusion would be. It is, however, clear that this is aimed at “bribing” the traditional chiefs to mobilise support for the former liberation party.

The Copac draft’s provision to limit the terms of office of so-called permanent secretaries is shunned by the Zanu (PF) draft, which proposes the maintenance of the status quo, where permanent secretaries can remain in their positions forever. Best practice in modern states is consistent with the Copac draft.

In an attempt to make the Central Intelligence Organisation more professional, accountable and non-partisan, the Copac draft makes provision for a law that will control this organ and place it under civilian control. In contrast to this noble provision, the Zanu (PF) draft prefers that the status quo be maintained, where the CIO has become virtually a private militia for the incumbent President. That way it can continue to be abused for purely partisan, if not personal ends as this nation has often witnessed in the past. Further, independent commissions and the judiciary are required to promote and be guided by the ideals and values of the liberation struggle.

Finally, the Zanu (PF) draft rejects the separation of the office of the Attorney General’s office from that of the prosecuting authority as provided for in the Copac draft. It prefers the current situation where the AG also exercises prosecuting authority. A National Prosecuting Authority is the norm in democratic countries. Here again, the nation has the unpalatable experience of the AG behaving in a clearly partisan manner, a situation the Copac draft seeks to remedy. This clinging to the tenets of dictatorship and authoritarian rule by Zanu (PF) must be rejected by the people. A better Zimbabwe is both possible and inevitable. – [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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