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Politburo shreds draft constitution

Faith Zaba

ZANU PF on Thursday finished consolidating its amendments to the controversial Copac draft constitution, coming up with its own document to be presented to the three principals in the inclusive government for possible adoption.
Zanu PF also took its amendments and own draft to the Sadc summit in Maputo on Friday.
While the Copac draft had curtailed President Robert Mugabe’s powers to appoint key personnel in government and distributed these powers to parliament and the judiciary, Zanu PF politburo largely wants to restore the status quo.
Zanu PF hardliners want more or less the current situation, which gives virtual imperial powers to Mugabe.
Mugabe, through the politburo, is battling to retain his sweeping presidential powers after they were whittled down in the latest draft constitution. The hardliners are proposing wholesale amendments to clauses that seek to impose fetters on Mugabe’s authority.
It became clear on Thursday that battle lines were drawn, with Zanu PF saying it is ready to fight if the two MDC formations do not accept its changes.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said: “We are not going to approve it as it is without our amendments. They can’t take it to the stakeholders’ meeting without us. We are a dominant force in Zimbabwe — it is not like we are a nonentity. We have a leader who is the president of this country and the commander-in-chief of the defence forces. They can’t dismiss our amendments unless they are itching for a confrontation.”
After meeting with Sadc facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday, Mugabe said Zanu PF would not have approved the draft without reviewing it.
He said the draft and proposed amendments would now be discussed by the three political principals in the inclusive government before it is handed over to the second all-stakeholders’ meeting for further discussions and possible changes, after which it will be debated in parliament and possibly have some more amendments.
“We are an enlightened party. We do not just accept things as conclusive,” he said.
However, the two MDC formations are insisting that the Copac draft will be put to a referendum without amendments.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday said principals cannot “veto” the Copac draft.

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