Comment: MDC belatedly sees the light

IT is not usually a good thing to say to someone “I told you so” when something goes horribly wrong after forewarning them on the dangers of what they are doing. But there are times when it becomes necessary to do so.

We find ourselves at that point with regards to the MDC-T and the current chaotic constitution-making process. We hold no brief for the MDC-T on anything and we also recognise that the party has a right to make its political decisions, no matter how disastrous, without consulting others.
However, we have a right to comment in the public interest on what the MDC-T, a political organisation seeking to win power and rule us, does. After months of politicking and making smoke-and-mirrors statements defending this shambolic constitution-making process, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday finally saw the light.
He crept out of his ivory tower and called a press conference on Wednesday in Harare to lament the violence and intimidation that rocked the capital last weekend during the constitutional outreach programme.
“The MDC leadership met today to review the latest developments on the work of the parliament-led constitutional outreach programme which was scheduled to end in Bulawayo, Chitungwiza and Harare last weekend,” Tsvangirai told journalists.
“After considering all the evidence from our Copac teams and from independent monitors and observers drawn from civil society, the leadership noted with concern the reported loss of life, the disruptions and the violence which marred the process. This process fails to pass the test of legitimacy, credibility and people-drivenness.”
Tsvangirai went on to say the process has been militarised and that Zanu PF had hijacked it using state structures and instruments of coercion. He also described the process as “messy”.
Now there we have it from the PM himself. What we however find disturbing is not necessarily what Tsvangirai said but that it took him so long to say it. Right from the beginning, we were very clear on this issue. We said from the start that this controversial process is badly flawed; it lacks credibility and legitimacy.
Our argument from the start was that the process is not inclusive and therefore not representative. We said the process is driven and controlled by a team comprising members of three political parties –– which only represent a narrow section of society –– and that is not acceptable in a culturally-diverse and multiracial country like ours.
We argued for weeks on end the exercise is not consensus-based and is hostage to the whims of a few political parties with self-serving agendas. We repeatedly stated that all-inclusiveness stems from the principle of equality. Everyone affected, and even potentially affected, by the consequence of the constitution-making process must be included via representative groups be they political parties, civil organisations or any other group.
We also said the constitution-making team must have structures and rules of operation on how to achieve the desired outcome. We even suggested that there should be a representative constituent assembly or commission to spearhead the process. The assembly or commission must preferably be chaired by a judge or another person of proven integrity.
Tsvangirai and his loyalists initially claimed that the constitutional parliamentary committee was representative as it comprised MPs from the three parties in parliament. When confronted with the reality that Zanu PF and the MDC factions simply don’t represent or capture the diversity and multicultural nature of our society, the politicians, thinking they were clever, incorporated a few gullible elements from civil society and other willing tools to camouflage their undemocratic and unrepresentative team. The result of that fraudulent attempt by Zanu PF and the MDC factions to hoodwink the people was a calamity. People saw through the smokescreen and did not really participate as they did during the 1999-2000 process. Zanu PF then resorted to coercive mobilisation methods. The idea behind this is to impose on the people the discredited Kariba draft constitution. This remains Zanu PF’s agenda. For Zanu PF it’s either the Kariba draft or nothing.
Mr Tsvangirai: It’s time to smell the coffee. No elections until healing is underway. And a credible constitution-making process. That’s the least the MDC can do.

 

 

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