Confusion over what Politburo said about draft constitution

According to the Herald, the ZANU PF party on Wednesday performed a dramatic climb down when its Politburo resolved to take the COPAC draft to the Second All Stakeholders conference. The paper said they also want the national report, based on the outreach program, to be published and accompany the COPAC draft. They said this was the only way people could see if their views had been included in the draft.

But – ZBC is reporting that the Politburo ‘resolved’ that ZANU PF stands by it’s amended draft and this will be the one taken to the second all stakeholders meeting, even though there is no consensus among the Principles.

ZBC quotes ZANU PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, Rugare Gumbo, saying: "Failure by the principals to come up with a consensus will result in a stakeholders meeting deciding on the COPAC or the audited draft.”

So it would appear no one knows what is going on.

Last month, following a series of four marathon meetings, the Politburo insisted that their amended draft constitution be taken to the All Stakeholders Conference and that their amendments were ‘final and non-negotiable.’

Work on the country’s long-delayed constitution stalled again last month when Robert Mugabe’s party made major amendments to a draft that had been compiled, signed to and released by all parties.

Dewa Mavhinga, a London based political analyst, told SW Radio Africa that ZANU PF could be retreating on its previous unreasonable demands on its last minute amendments to the COPAC draft.

‘Its quite telling that in politics it is no longer business as usual and ZANU PF can no longer have its way all the time. It’s a major shift yes, but sneaky and insincere.

‘Remember the outreach program was far from being a free space where Zimbabweans could freely express themselves, it was a politically charged space characterized with coaching, intimidation, bussing of party ZANU PF supporters and violence which resulted in at least one person being killed at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare,’ Mavhinga said.

He continued: ‘I would caution optimism when ZANU PF now says it wants the national report which was authored under such highly polarized and politicized conditions.’

The regional SADC bloc insists that having a new constitution is a crucial step in preparing for elections that would replace the rocky unity government, formed between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai after the violent 2008 presidential poll.

Both Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube (leader of the the smaller MDC formation) have insisted they will not renegotiate over the draft constitution.

Tsvangirai had said he was ready to reconsider ‘one or two issues’ but Mugabe's party has completely rewritten the draft, making 261 changes.

Critics have said that the two MDCs have already made far too many concessions to ZANU PF, in the COPAC draft.

The SADC Troika has scheduled a summit on Zimbabwe next month, that is expected to deal with the deadlock.

– SW Radio Africa News

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