ZANU PF hardliners have clandestinely embarked on a countrywide tour to meet villagers and urge them to vote “No” in the referendum if the draft constitution is adopted in its current form.
Report by Elias Mambo
The hardliners are allegedly led by influential politburo members and are working closely with controversial Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation analysts and Zanu PF apologists Claude Mararike, Tafataona Mahoso and Vimbai Chivaura.
Chivaura is spearheading the rural outreach programme in preparation for the party’s “No” vote campaign if the draftis not overhauled. His team has been issued with vehicles acquired by Zanu PF for its planned election campaign roll-out.
Chivaura, Mararike and Mahoso have constantly castigated the Copac draft saying “no Zimbabwean, who has known the suffering of what vana vevhu (sons of the soil) went through in rescuing this nation from servitude and prostration to white subjugation and humiliation, can read this document without feeling scandalised and outraged” by its contents.
The group has rejected the draft constitution, claiming it is a “highly personalised and politicised treacherous legal document aimed at retiring President Robert Mugabe”.
Sources who attended one of the meetings in Masvingo said Chivaura’s team is dismissing the draft as an attack on the integrity of the people of Zimbabwe whose views they claim were mainly neglected.
They are also alleging Copac is a “regime change weapon”.
However, Chivaura refuted the allegations when contacted for comment, saying he is a lecturer and his duties entail educating and informing people.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa could neither confirm nor deny reports that party hardliners had dispatched a group to rural areas to campaign for a “No” vote.
“There are so many groups we hear are doing a lot of things and claim to be part of Zanu PF and that group is not the party,” said Mutasa. “Zanu PF will go by what Mugabe, the only party leader, said to everyone at the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference.” he said.
At the conference Mugabe warned delegates that principals, not Copac or the people, would have the final say in the constitution-making process, laying bare his intention of hijacking the exercise to advance his and party interests.
Zanu PF wants all of Mugabe’s imperial powers whittled down in the Copac draft restored in the new governance charter. However, the two MDC formations insist no amendments would be made by political parties since the draft was approved by all party representatives after in-depth negotiations and consultations between the management committee and party principals.