THE Sadc facilitation team, which was in the country earlier this week to discuss progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and in particular the constitution-making process, has raised security concerns in the event a referendum is held.
Reported by Wongai Zhangazha/Brian Chitemba
South African President Jacob Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu, spokesperson Mac Maharaj and political advisor Charles Nqakula arrived in Harare on Tuesday, but failed to unlock the deadlock over the latest Copac draft constitution.
According to sources, Nqakula asked what plans were in place to ensure that a peaceful environment prevailed to enable voters to freely express themselves in the event of one or two drafts being taken to a referendum.
Nqakula also wanted to know when observers were likely to be invited for the referendum.
“Nqakula asked what provisions were in place to make sure a referendum will be held peacefully,” said the source. “(Patrick) Chinamasa responded saying the way referendums were conducted was different from elections as eligible people would only be asked to produce their national identification (documents).”
Previous polls have been afflicted by violence and bloodshed as Zanu PF battled to retain power at all costs.The facilitation team is set to brief Zuma on its latest Zimbabwe sojourn in Pretoria on Friday.
The MDCs have repeatedly rejected Zanu PF’s far-reaching amendments to the Copac draft, and formally declared a deadlock in the constitution-making process.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, representing party secretary-general Tendai Biti, said the facilitation team reiterated the Sadc August 17 Maputo resolution that the constitution-making process must be finalised and draft taken to a referendum.
Mwonzora confirmed the deadlock, saying
the two MDC formations had refused to open negotiations with Zanu PF on its 266 alterations to the Copac draft.
He said the negotiators agreed with the facilitation team that a three-member Sadc team be seconded to the Joint Implementation and Monitoring Committee (Jomic) without further delay in accordance with the Sadc Maputo and Livingstone resolutions.
There was also consensus that agreed GPA issues be implemented.
However, Zanu PF insisted it was not moving an inch from its current position, arguing that declaring a deadlock is tantamount to calling for immediate general elections under the Lancaster House constitution.
Chinamasa said there is nowhere in the draft where it says it’s (Copac draft) final and said we must respect the will of the people on the gays issue and death sentence, but this was dismissed by Priscilla (Misihairabwi-Mushonga) who accused Zanu PF of hypocrisy, saying they were not genuine in respecting the will of the people.
The MDCs also proposed taking the diaspora vote to a referendum but Chinamasa shot it down, claiming it had been agreed that people living outside the country would not vote.