AFTER having passed the test of legitimacy by fulfilling the Global Political Agreement (GPA) Clause VI obligation which requires that it be tabled at a stakeholders’ conference the time has come for the rest of Zimbabwean citizens to have the final say on the draft constitution.
Report by Qhubani Moyo
The time for politicians in whatever capacity to peddle any form of influence in the process is over. Politicians have had their time and the principals had their time as well.
It is on public record the draft constitution that was signed by the management committee and later the Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) was approved after wide consultations and agreement by the three principals Professor Welshman Ncube, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.
It is further known that the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference was part of the process of ensuring stakeholders are appraised on what is contained in the draft constitution.
It is now time for the rest of the citizenry to have their own bite of the cherry. This is why it is important to fulfil all the parliamentary and legal processes before proclamation of a referendum.
It is against this background the people of Zimbabwe should understand that national processes cannot be left to a select few.
Leaving three individuals to make a final decision on the supreme law of the land, which is supposed to stay for posterity is dangerous.
I find it retrogressive there are people who want the final product of a national process to be determined by three individuals, among them a well-known dictator who is guilty of ruining the country and the livelihoods of so many Zimbabweans through misrule.
The pronouncements by Mugabe during the opening of the conference clearly confirm reports during the past few weeks that principals want to subvert the role of parliament and in the process usurp its powers.
This is not only a blatant violation of the GPA, but a serious mutilation of the doctrine of separation of powers because Copac is a parliamentary process and the executive should let it run its course under the direction of parliament.
Most importantly, it is a serious and blatant violation of the Sadc Maputo resolution on the matter around settlement of the Zimbabwean political question and the role leaders of political parties.
Mugabe’s thinking, which unfortunately seems to have found purchase from Tsvangirai, is that the draft should be concluded by principals. It is strange some people see this as a workable solution because our continued relegation of national processes to a few individuals, kills the spirit of collectivism and democratic decision-making.
When you suggest that let the millions of Zimbabweans decide on what is best for the country, some prefer that one or two individuals can decide their destiny on their behalf. This is the situation that has become a culture in this country and Mugabe has studied the thinking process of Zimbabweans and is using our docility to dupe and outmanoeuvre the nation.
This is why he keeps Arthur Mutambara as his poodle so that at all times he parrots what Mugabe says as he sings for his supper. Mutambara is just an imposter, nothing more!
Mugabe is also trying to manipulate Tsvangirai to be a passive but willing participant in his grand scheme of things.
The main reason why Mugabe will insist on the principals approach — with principals defined as those individuals who signed the GPA thereby excluding Ncube from the process — is because he has defined a political constituency he does not want compromised.
Mutambara has no constituency and whatever he does he does it for his personal interests, hence Mugabe knows that and continues to manipulate him this way. Mugabe’s strategy is to have a decision-making forum that excludes Ncube, but has his poodle and Tsvangirai whom he is also trying to recruit. In that forum of principals, Mugabe and Mutambara will undoubtedly gang up against Tsvangirai.
That is why Mugabe does not want Ncube .
Most importantly, however, it should be the people of Zimbabwe who should be the final arbiters because no single group or a few individuals can claim to represent millions of Zimbabweans in collectivity and diversity. The next stages of the process should be about the power of the people to make decisions through their representatives in parliament and later through their vote in the referendum.
The draft constitution produced by Copac remains the only meaningful and credible compromise that the country could produce under the circumstances and the deadlock at the conference proves beyond any doubt that there is no substitute to the Copac draft.
Attempts by some of the delegates at the conference to use the forum as a drafting platform could not work as it was met with resistance since as it was signed by all the parties in government under the instruction of their party presidents. The stalemate literally at all thematic committees reflected without doubt that we have to put the Copac draft to the people through a referendum and let them decide.
Moyo is director of policy and research in the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube. He is contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org