ORDINARY Zimbabweans have been reduced to mere spectators in the country’s protracted constitution-making process as their input has been virtually ignored although they are the key stakeholder.
Report by Staff Writer
The Copac draft is under dispute with Zanu PF demanding that its 266 proposed amendments be incorporated into the draft.
The MDC formations insist only the Second All-Stakeholders Conference and parliament can amend the draft since all three parties participated in producing it.
The MDC-T has launched a “Yes Vote” campaign even before the draft is debated by an all-stakeholders’ conference where the public’s views would be heard through civil society and interest groups. The other MDC has also launched a “Yes Vote” camp.
But Zimbabweans have not been afforded the opportunity to see if their views were properly captured and attempts to persuade them to reject or accept the draft suggest the process is compromised by party political positions.
Development analyst Maxwell Saungweme described the MDC-T’s “Yes Vote” campaign as ill-advised and premature saying it goes against principles and dictates of public participation in issues concerning the people.
“It’s really hard to imagine that the MDC-T could rush into launching such a campaign without first taking the draft to their constituents and stakeholders,” said Saungweme.
“Even authoritative sources like Freedom House and Afrobarometer in recent surveys have clearly shown that the majority of Zimbabweans have not yet read this draft. There are areas of concern such as devolution which a good number of Zimbabweans are concerned about that are not addressed by this draft,” he said.
Governance analyst David Takawira said the move by the MDC-T makes them sitting ducks.
“We won’t move forward without the three parties agreeing,” said Takawira. “The strategy is not doing the leader (Morgan Tsvangirai) any good given the fact that tomorrow he would be forced to make a major climb down from the current position, which would further put citizens into a frenzy of confusion and his leadership and judgment into question.”
The National Constitutional Assembly’s Blessing Vava believes it was rather ambitious for the MDC-T to launch a “Yes Vote” campaign.
“The MDC parties never wanted participation of the people of Zimbabwe in writing the constitution and their “Yes Vote” campaign is a declaration that they are only concerned about themselves and not the interests of all Zimbabweans,” said Vava.
Saungweme concurred with Vava saying the launch demonstrates how the MDC parties’ leadership is obsessed with dictating issues and policies to people through “top-down” approaches instead of going through the consultative process.
Saungweme said this move could prove costly to the parties because there are many reasons why people should vote “No” against the draft constitution as it falls short of the expectations of the majority.
He also said people wants to know how the millions of dollars were used by the political parties since they are still bickering at the end of the current phase.
According to estimates, US$50 million was spent on the process.