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Constitution: People’s wishes must prevail

ZANU PF is once again shooting itself in the foot by forcing people attending the Constitution Parliamentary Committee (Copac) outreach meetings to read and play megaphone to their tired script.

Reports coming in from the provinces are proof that Zanu PF wants to remain in a war mode when other progressive parties such as the MDC are working hard to improve the lives of citizens.

The people of Zimbabwe want a constitution that is progressive, which at the end of the day will be a lasting legacy to future generations.
We don’t want a constitution that turns a blind eye to basic human rights abuses like the current situation in Zimbabwe where even a 15- year-old school kid can claim to be a former freedom fighter.
Like any respectable constitution across the globe, ours should be able to protect the weak and guarantee respect for people’s rights.  However, this has proved not to be the case in Zimbabwe as Zanu PF has gone on a warpath, foisting its wishes on the people. The party has engaged soldiers and secret service agents in what is now known across the country as “Operation Chimumumu” where only a few people are reading from prepared Zanu PF talking points.
How can one explain that at a public outreach meeting that is attended by over 1 200 people only five speak? This attempt by Zanu PF officials means that they are putting in place provisions to make sure they will not be arrested and prosecuted for their human rights crimes in a new and democratic Zimbabwe.
We know that Zanu PF is against the drafting of a new, people-driven constitution in favour of the current one which it can use to manipulate the electoral system in order to fraudulently stay in power.
What Zanu PF is doing is derailing the whole process so that Zimbabweans will not be able to make a constitution that makes it difficult to rig polls.
However, the people of Zimbabwe are going to shoot down the Zanu PF position in a free and fair referendum.
Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora should not remain silent when the people’s rights are being trampled upon by Zanu PF.  He should stamp his authority and say no to Zanu PF’s antics. Copac should openly call for the immediate barring of state security agents at all outreach meetings.
Police officers who attend these meetings should be in uniform.  It is shocking and ridiculous that the police commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri can claim that the Zimbabwe Republic Police does not have money to send its details to provide security when we are seeing them at these outreach meetings, writing copiously to intimidate villagers from airing their own opinions.
Zanu PF should remember the people of Zimbabwe are determined to have a truly people-driven constitution, not a Zanu PF-driven one. They showed this determination in 2000 when they voted “No” at the constitutional referendum then and they can do it again if Zanu PF fails to morph into a civilised, modern political party.

Lawrence Paganga.


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