HomeCommentCandid Comment: Don’t impose Kariba Draft on us

Candid Comment: Don’t impose Kariba Draft on us

WHEN Vice-President Joice Mujuru launched a Zanu PF constitution-making outreach programme last month in Mount Darwin many people smelt a rat given that a national non-partisan exercise of that nature was on the cards in fulfilment of the global political agreement (GPA).

Their suspicions were copper-bottomed given that we live in a surreal country where Zanu PF has over the past three decades reduced citizens to prisoners by using extra-judicial measures to suppress their rights.
Mujuru’s outreach programme, according to what is reportedly happening across the country, was meant to outflank the national exercise to be driven by the Constitutional Parliament Committee (Copac): intimidate, indoctrinate, and hoodwink Zimbabweans into coming up with a new constitution that would be a replica of the despised Kariba Draft which would allow President Mugabe to serve two more terms.
Copac’s exercise has been temporarily put on ice due to financial constraints. Many Zanu PF rallies have taken place and others are lined up throughout the country, while spin-doctors are afforded public space in newspapers, on radio and television to sell the party’s idea in the vain hope that the people will come up with a Kariba Draft constitution by another name.
The draft –– drawn up by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations’ negotiators in 2007 –– has been thoroughly discredited because of its lack of constitutionalism. The people of Zimbabwe’s right to craft their own supreme law was sacrificed on the altar of political expedience.
The negotiators crafted the draft without the input of the people on their aspirations and dreams for an independent and democratic country. The draft was more of an expression of the aspirations, wishes, objectives and goals of the power elite as represented by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
The draft could not be promulgated as the supreme law before the March 2008 election because of heightened squabbles between the negotiating parties.
There are questions galore as to why Zanu PF is now pushing for its adoption when it clearly lacks constitutionalism. It has been argued that the GPA recognises the draft and it, therefore, should be used as the major reference document in the constitution-making process. Nothing is further from the truth!
The GPA indeed acknowledged the existence of the draft and went further to outline a programme to be followed in coming up with a new constitution. That programme involves the people.
Zimbabweans should know that Zanu PF has over the years exhibited its disdain for constitutionalism. It is a party which refuses to learn from its past and is determined to use the state power at its disposal to have its way.
In February 2000, Zimbabweans rejected the country’s first post-Independence draft constitution because the process by which it was arrived at was flawed. The views of the people were manipulated to suit certain political agendas and Zimbabweans could not countenance that.
The draft constitution contained some important reforms, but was not a people’s product hence they threw it out. The same scenario awaits Zanu PF if it goes ahead to force down our throats the Kariba Draft through manipulation and intimidation.
Zanu PF’s intentions were made clear this week by one of its strategists, Professor Jonathan Moyo, in an opinion piece in the Sunday Mail titled “Inclusive govt anniversary: Taking stock.” 
Moyo, a member of the party’s central committee and most likely to be appointed to the politburo by the end of today, should be taken seriously because what he writes is the position of the former ruling party and it would be foolhardy to ignore him.
He argued in his piece that process issues in the current constitution-making process are a waste of time because there is “just no popular excitement out there about the new constitution” and that there was a “consensus about the desirable content of a new constitution”.
Then the sucker punch.
“As such,” Moyo contemptuously wrote, “the fact that Zanu PF and the two MDC formations in the inclusive government already have a negotiated draft constitution, dubbed the Kariba Draft can only be ignored by the most naive in our midst.
“Anyone who honestly believes that, if we are to have it, a new constitution will be drafted from the views gathered through any outreach programme is either   with a hidden agenda or is just a common fool with no idea of what is going on. There is no constitution which is going to be written by villagers or street dwellers through an outreach programme!”
He then insinuated that the people who crafted the Kariba Draft would certainly write the new constitution that would be the same draft in another name.
I wonder if Moyo was saying there is collusion and conspiracy between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations to cheat Zimbabweans and reproduce the Kariba Draft. If that is the case, it would be a great betrayal by the MDC formations and the people will not forgive them. There is also an elaborate plan in Zanu PF to sabotage the constitution-making process if a draft constitution coming out of the Copac outreach programme does not resemble the Kariba Draft. President Robert Mugabe told his central committee last year that legislators from his party would have to vote against the draft in parliament if its does not meet Zanu PF’s demands. For a constitutional draft to sail through parliament there is need for a two thirds majority. The MDC formations do not command that majority.
Let us hope that we will be delivered from that evil and that Moyo was merely attempting to write on the chimney with charcoal.


Constantine Chimakure

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