HomePoliticsMDC-T divided over draft constitution

MDC-T divided over draft constitution

THE Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T is divided over the draft constitution on the issues of presidential powers, devolution and the running mate clauses ahead of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference scheduled for next week, authoritative sources have said.

Report by Nqaba Matshazi

While Tsvangirai has been campaigning for the draft publicly, informed sources say privately he was unhappy with some clauses.
The Premier has found an unlikely ally in President Robert Mugabe, who is also sceptical of the same clauses.

The sources said party secretary-general Tendai Biti, spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora and Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs minister, Eric Matinenga wanted the draft constitution to be adopted as it is.

They said Tsvangirai, party negotiator Elton Mangoma and members of the so-called kitchen cabinet were opposed to this as they felt the draft would have stripped the president of all major powers. The Group, sources said, was confident that Tsvangirai would win the next elections.

“The feeling is that the President, if the draft is accepted, would have been reduced to a clerk, literally,” a well-placed source said.

“So they are fighting to have some of those powers restored.”

Ironically, Biti, Mwonzora and Mangoma were part of the MDC-T’s delegation in the Copac management committee.

“The situation is made worse by that the lawyers — Biti, Matinenga and Mwonzora — are on one side and some members think this puts the intelligentsia on one side and the rest of the party on the other,” the source continued.

Another MDC-T insider said the party agreed that Tsvangirai should not open up the discussion with Mugabe over Copac, but the Prime Minister had continued to do so.

This has given rise to further divisions within the party.
“When we launched the campaign to vote for the constitution, the president (Tsvangirai) made it clear that he would not discuss the constitution with Mugabe, but now he is doing it at their Monday meetings and this is raising consternation within the party,” the insider said.

Biti and Mangoma could not be reached for comment this week.
But Mwonzora said reported divisions were untrue, adding that the party had reached a consensus on all the issues in the Copac draft.

He said while Tsvangirai continued to meet Mugabe over the Copac draft, it was not about content but rather of processes like the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference and security arrangements leading to the referendum.

“Tsvangirai’s position is clear, he supports devolution, this (Copac) is a parliamentary-driven process,” he said. “This draft was endorsed by the standing committee, the national executive council and the national council.”

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