THE Zanu PF politburo is now virtually rewriting the controversial Copac draft constitution in its own image by overhauling chapters and clauses which it objects to, mainly in a bid to restore curtailed sweeping presidential powers President Robert Mugabe currently enjoys ahead of elections.
The politburo met again on Wednesday for the fourth time in three weeks, bringing the time it has now spent on the draft to about 42 hours, showing the draft is virtually being re-written.
The Wednesday meeting started at 1:30pm and ended at dawn, around 4:30am on Thursday, but the taxing scrutiny of the draft failed to conclude the matter. Zanu PF is expected to meet again over the issue. Mugabe attended the 15-hour meeting which started on Wednesday and ended at dawn on Thursday.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said on Thursday the politburo was likely to meet again next week on Thursday after the Heroes and Defence Forces holidays to fine-tune amendments it wants to make to the draft.
“We had a good meeting. It was very robust and we have now incorporated people’s views that were not captured that should be reflected in the draft,” he said.
Asked which sections Zanu PF was unilaterally amending, Gumbo said: “We looked from the preamble through founding principles to the end. We are happy now. We have more or less finished our draft; it only needs to be cleaned. We will meet next week around Thursday to finalise and we will give you copies of our draft when we are done and I am sure everyone will be happy with it.”
Zanu PF politburo members have been gagged over the issue to safeguard the process which is certain to cause a political storm in weeks and months ahead.
Senior politburo members have a different interpretation of the politburo effort. Some see it as a genuine attempt to improve the draft constitution which they feel was personalised by those trying to oust Mugabe, while others say it is simply a campaign to restore presidential powers whittled down in the draft to avoid defeat in the next elections.
After the draft was released on July 18, Zanu PF initially met on July 25 for four hours where the draft was tabled. The party followed that with a politburo meeting on Friday July 27 which lasted from 1pm to 2:30am on Saturday, July 28. Another meeting was held on August 1 for about 12 hours. It started on Wednesday afternoon and ended in the early hours of Thursday last week.
The meeting on Wednesday lasted for almost 15 hours, from 1:30pm to about 4:30am early on Thursday morning.