ZANU PF and the two MDC factions in the inclusive government – aided and abetted by gullible civil society organisations pursuing partisan agendas – are now increasingly becoming merchants of confusion in the constitution-making process.
There is a systematic and sustained attempt by these parties to throw mud all over the place and confuse people about what is going on around the current initiative.
In the process, the people and the noble idea of a new constitution become the victims of the turf wars fought by the parties in the name of constitutional reform. This calculated and contrived disorder cannot bring reforms and progress. It can only further delay change and, if not stopped, could trigger turmoil.
This issue is very simple but is now becoming clouded. Zanu PF and the two MDC factions agreed to use the Kariba draft as the basis for ongoing consultations to produce a new constitution. However, they are now publicly fighting to cling onto or reject the document for entirely different reasons.
They are using lies, propaganda and deceit to achieve their narrow ends. All open-minded and enlightened people must reject this partisan approach. A representative, structured and democratic constitution-making process must be put in place. Â
The statement issued by Zanu PF and MDC negotiators last week clarified matters if ever there was need for such elucidation. This has left civic organisations blindly following their political handlers, exposed and confused.
That is the problem with surrogate civic groups not pursuing a principled democratic agenda. They just tag along with their handlers without advising them on the right course to follow.
While a number of progressive donors are helping the broad democratisation cause and must be applauded, local civic leaders must set the agenda and the debate because they know better what needs to be done and have permanent interests in this issue. Â
The statement by the negotiators clearly and without a doubt shows that in terms of the GPA, the shoddy Kariba draft is the basis for this constitution-making process.
The problem is with Zanu PF and the MDC factions which are fighting for a different cause altogether under the guise of constitution-making. In reality, they are not struggling for a new constitution as they would want people to believe, but political dominion and influence. Their ultimate objective is not necessarily a new constitution, but how to maintain power, in the case of Zanu PF, or gain it, for the MDC.
There is nothing wrong with this at all but they must not create confusion and deny people the right to produce a new constitution. We need to restore order, put things into perspective and avoid acting like a primitive and frozen society unable to write a constitution for 10 years in the 21st century!
The confusion about the Kariba draft is politically contrived and unhelpful. If civic groups are clear-minded and strategic in their thinking, they should reject the Kariba draft and then demand an open and democratic approach to force Zanu PF and the MDC factions to abandon their very bad document – cobbled together in 2007 – and adopt a new inclusive and transparent process to come up with a good, legitimate product.
Here is the evidence that Zanu PF and the MDC factions agreed on the Kariba draft and may well be indulging in monkey business:
“We the undersigned negotiators of the Global Political Agreement wish to clarify and explain that the three parties to the GPA agreed to be the place and role of the ‘Kariba Draft Constitution’ within the constitution-making process agreed to and set out by the parties in the GPA,” the statement says.
“We do this so as to restore, reaffirm and defend the co-operative spirit among the parties to the agreement, which co-operative spirit is absolutely essential and indeed is a pre-condition for a successful conclusion to the agreed constitution making process.”
The statement goes further to say: “We hereby place it on record that the agreement of the parties was that the Kariba draft which was negotiated, agreed to and initiated by all three parties to the GPA, would be used by the parties through the Parliamentary Select Committee to consult the people on the content of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.”
It says agreement was that the Select Committee would take the Kariba draft to the people and consult them on which provisions of the draft they agreed with and accepted and which ones they did not agree with.
This is self-explanatory and very clear. People must not be seized with this designed chaos but should keep their eye on the ball and demand an open, inclusive, transparent and democratic process.