THE draft Constitution is organically unacceptable and Zanu-PF will not be pushed to endorse it without amendments, a senior party
official has said. Zanu-PF is expected to finalise its position on the draft Constitution tomorrow amid indications the document may be given the thumbs down.
This is the third time in two weeks that the party’s supreme decision-making body outside congress, the Politburo, will meet to pore over the draft clause-by-clause, auditing it against the national report.
The national reports contain the people’s views gathered during the outreach.
The two MDC formations have since endorsed the document which analysts say differs from the national report.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo, who was reacting to accusations by MDC formations that his party was stalling the finalisation of the Constitution-making process by taking “too long” to come up with its position, said some issues that were not gathered during the outreach were smuggled into the draft Constitution.
The two MDCs claim three Copac meetings to work on the modalities of the second stakeholders’ conference have been stalled by Zanu-PF.
Said Cde Gumbo: “They want us to agree to something which is unacceptable. It is childish to do that because we are talking about a Constitution for generations to come.
“We cannot commit ourselves to positions which are untenable. Their position is children’s play and they are not serious. They are playing student politics.”
Cde Gumbo said MDC-T had an agenda to replace the people’s views with alien ideas.
He said Zanu-PF’s forensic audit would vindicate the party’s position that resonates throughout the national report.
“We are sticking to what people have said and you will notice the difference.
“We certainly hope to finish with the draft on Wednesday because we are left with compiling and editing what we have said.”
Copac co-chairperson Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu-PF), said it was pointless to hold Copac meetings as his party was still scrutinising the document.
“I am not aware of the meeting other parties are saying we should have held today (yesterday).
“They are allowed to make their plans, but as a party we are still looking at the document and no one should rush us because this is an important document that will
govern the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Co-chairperson Mr Edward Mkhosi (MDC) said the process would only proceed after Zanu-PF endorses the document.
“We have no problem with the document, but we are deadlocked because Zanu-PF is yet to tell us its position.
“For us to make future plans, there should be consensus which is not there at the moment. We are waiting for Zanu-PF to finalise then we talk of the next stage,” he said.
Co-chairperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) said it was impossible for the Project Board to meet without Zanu-PF.
“Copac should come up with proposals and then a Project Board meeting that consists of Government and donors takes place. But as it stands Zanu-PF has on three
occasions postponed the meetings.
“We are held at ransom by Zanu-PF. We also have areas that we need to be tightened, but we have negotiated for long and should leave for the people to decide,” he said.
The Politburo last week tasked its representatives in the Copac management committee to collate the proposed amendments into a comprehensive document.
Some contested areas include national objectives and foundations, the significance of the liberation struggle, the appointment of provincial governors, the establishment of the constitutional court as well as the tenure of the inclusive Government.
Other areas of dispute include the deployment of defence forces outside the country and the proposed restructuring of the Attorney-General’s Offi-ce.
There was also debate on the section dealing with the nomination of presidential candidates and their running mates.
The Politburo endorsed portions of the draft Constitution last Friday, but proposed amendments to several contentious clauses.
Political commentators and constitutional experts have also criticised the draft, saying members of the management committee compromised on contentious issues, effectively dismissing the people’s views in favour of their preferences.
Copac needs to convene the second all stakeholders’ conference to give the public an opportunity to interrogate the draft Constitution it released last week.
The first all stakeholders’ conference was held in 2009 and was marred by clashes among supporters of political parties.
After the second stakeholders’ conference, the draft Constitution will be tabled before the people at a referendum where people will vote for or against the Constitution.
If the draft Constitution passes through the referendum, it goes to Parliament before the sitting President signs it into law.