COPAC co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) on Wednesday told a Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe discussion his party’s amendments to the draft constitution reflected what the people had said during the Copac outreach programme, as heated debate on the latest draft continued at several public fora in Harare and on national radio stations.
Mangwana is however on record as saying: “The truth about the constitution that Copac is crafting for the country will come out very soon and media reports that we dumped people’s views are not true. We wrote the contents in the draft constitution on the basis of what people said during the constitutional outreach programmes and such media reports are misleading and were written by people ignorant of the constitution-making process.”
Zanu PF representatives across the platforms had a torrid time trying to defend their party’s wholesale amendments which restore the imperial presidency, after the last draft incorporated the party’s proposals contained in a 29-page document with over 200 changes. At the Media Centre discussion Godwills Masimirembwa, one of Zanu PF’s Copac technical advisers argued Copac had acquiesced to political control the moment it accepted a management committee that was not part of a parliamentary committee.
On new radio station Star FM, Zanu PF MP for Mhondoro-Ngezi Bright Matonga was at pains to explain that a deadlock would be pronounced only after party principals meet, thus for now the draft could still be amended by principals.
However, the MDC formations remain adamant they would not re-open negotiations and Zimbabweans should be the arbiters of the draft at the constitutional referendum.
Copac information and publicity sub-committee chairperson Jessie Majome (MDC-T) told journalists at the Quill Club that Zanu PF was in political paralysis because the MDCs would not give in to its draft amendments. She defended the Copac draft saying it captured the views of the people and should be taken to a referendum without alterations.
Civil society organisations and other political parties left out of the Copac process argue the final draft is flawed because it was produced through an exclusionary process limited to Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
Audiences at the public fora were as divided as the political players, making the outcome of the referendum — if the principals decide to put the draft to the people — appear uncertain. — Staff Writer.