Facilitators meet principals over talks

Although Zanu PF and NCA are not allies, unfolding events surrounding the constitution-making process could force the two to work together to defeat the draft constitution they both do not want for different reasons. Zanu PF appears determined to go to the next elections under the current constitution, which would lead to it voting against the Copac draft, while the NCA has been opposed to the process, saying it was inherently unrepresentative and not people-driven.

While Zanu PF, which is opposed to the draft, has been mobilising its supporters to reject it if its views are not included, NCA resolved at its extraordinary national consultative assembly last Saturday  to intensify its campaign against the controversial draft constitution.

The Zanu PF politburo has rejected the Copac draft and instructed its team led by legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa to seek to overhaul the document, a move being resisted by the MDC parties, jeopardising the draft which may eventually not even go to referendum unless a breakthrough is found and all GPA issues are implemented as demanded by Sadc leaders during their recent summit in Luanda, Angola.

The NCA says it was disturbed by the manner in which Copac has handled the constitution-making process, blowing close to US$45 million and yet unable to produce a workable, consolidated draft.

One of the resolutions of the NCA meeting demanded Copac to immediately release its final draft for a referendum so people can decide, showing the group is geared to mobilise for the rejection of the document.

The NCA has consistently criticised the process,saying it was not people-driven as only the three parties that form the coalition government are driving it. Similarly, Zanu PF has been complaining about the Copac draft. Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu PF negotiator and member of the Copac management committee, told a Sapes Trust public seminar last week the current constitution-making process had taken too long and was not going to produce any meaningful result.

Chinamasa said Zanu PF had hoped the Copac exercise would be concluded in a short period as the Kariba draft constitution, negotiated by three parties, was supposed to form the basis of the process.

“If that had taken place, naturally this constitution-making process would have been concluded sooner,” said Chinamasa. “What in fact has happened is that it has become very expensive, very protracted and very argumentative, and one would not be sure at the end of the day whether this process itself will produce an outcome,” he said.