The lizard and rat went for a swim but it is the rat that came out dripping wet. Sot it was with MDC-T deputy organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe. He must be a bitter man. There he was in Umzingwane, Matabeleland South Province, toeing the party line at a rally only to have his fingers rapped by his bosses in Harare the next day for saying precisely what they have been telling people around the country.
Bhebhe had told the gathering that MDC-T would rewrite the Constitution if it assumes power saying the document which may emanate from the Copac process will just be a transitional one, or to put it simply, one specifically to facilitate regime change.
Bhebhe told the Umzingwane rally that his party would rewrite the Constitution, if it assumed power even if people approved the draft at the
With its dirty linen laid bare at a time it wants it hidden from view, MDC-T issued a statement on Monday disowning Bhebhe’s statement saying they have no plans of crafting a new Constitution.
“Contrary to the statement attributed to the deputy national organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC has no plans of writing its own constitution draft.
“The national council of the MDC, which is the highest decision-making body in between congresses, has resolved to endorse the current constitution draft produced by the Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac).”
In endorsing the Copac Draft, MDC-T said it was guided by two key considerations.
“The first was its respect of the people’s views as expressed during the outreach process. The second one was the MDC’s respect for the negotiations it entered into in good faith.
“The Draft Constitution has to be taken to the people of Zimbabwe for their approval or disapproval.
“The position of the party is that it is the people of Zimbabwe who should decide from time to time what constitution they want. Should the people demand changes to the current draft when the MDC is in power, the MDC will obey the people. This is what Hon Bhebhe intended to communicate,” the MDC-T statement said.
Well-crafted words that were meant to sway the uninitiated but which only served to expose the party’s dishonesty. The give away was the phrase ‘‘it is the people of Zimbabwe who should decide FROM TIME TO TIME what constitution they want’’. MDC-T leaders should give the nation credit for intelligence and not try to deny what even a dunce can deduce.
Firstly, Bhebhe was just repeating the yarn his bosses had spun at various rallies before, as will be shown in subsequent paragraphs. Censuring him was hypocritical.
Secondly, the MDC-T’s claim that it was guided by ‘‘the people’s views as expressed during the outreach process’’ in endorsing the Copac Draft is vacuous, coming as it does at a time the same party is refusing to publicise the National Report that contains the people’s views. We know what the people said during the outreach because we are in possession of, and published the National Report in full.
The Draft endorsed by the MDC-T is an insult to the views gathered during the outreach. And by it’s own admission, Copac has confessed to deviating from the people’s views. MDC-T leaders must not insult the people’s intelligence in this regard.
Thirdly, their claim that they have ‘‘respect for the negotiations entered into in good faith’’ is quite contradictory in that if as they say they respected the people’s views, there would have been no need for negotiations for the simple reason that people pronounced themselves clearly on all key issues.
Such double-speaking can only roll off forked tongues.
Turning to poor Bhebhe, the record will show that:
- On October 28, 2010 Tsvangirai told an MDC consultative meeting in Budiriro, Harare that the MDC-T would re-write the Constitution: “I urge you all to attend the Copac meetings that resume in Harare this weekend. We want to go to elections next year with a new Constitution. After winning that election then we will make sure that the country has a real people-driven Constitution with all your views and desires captured”
- On December 20 2011, Tsvangirai was quoted widely in local and Western media saying, “a new Constitution for Zimbabwe, which is now with Government drafters (meaning Copac), with a referendum to follow, will be abandoned as soon as the MDC party wins power”.
- On October 21 2010, MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa; who is Bhebhe’s immediate boss, was quoted in the Zimbabwe Standard saying: “Zimbabweans will be given another chance to write a Constitution in a free environment after elections. That’s why we want a transitional constitution now to create a conducive climate for elections, after which a new charter will be written.”
- Chamisa also told the pirate radio station SW Radio that the Copac document would be: “a transitional document but at the appropriate time and opportune moment Zimbabweans would be given an opportunity to write a people-driven Constitution in a manner that will inspire confidence and legitimacy and that will be at some time in the future”.
- Not to be outdone, on January 20, 2012 Irene Petras — the director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights — a pro MDC-T lobby group, said the Copac process would result only in a transitional document which would be replaced by a permanent one in a ‘‘stable post-inclusive Government environment’’.
Bhebhe was just a fall guy but his utterances are instructive. His disclosure tells us why progressive people should never accept the Copac draft in its current form, because it won’t even be good enough for a purely MDC-T government which is why the party says it would ‘‘re-write’’ the Constitution.Bhebhe’s utterances explain why Copac went on a concerted campaign to assault the foundations of the Zimbabwean State.
They explain why the Copac draft seeks to create weak institutions that will not have the power to stop the regime lobby. This is why the Copac draft is a clear assault on the office of the Presidency for the whole regime change drive crystallises around the, ‘‘Mugabe must go’’ mantra, oblivious of the fact that President Mugabe will not be in that office forever.
So what is the way forward? The nation should not be held to ransom by people who have made it clear they are interested in a document that would help propel them to power per se. To them the Draft Constitution is not about national but personal interests.
The Draft Constitution is not about Zimbabwean interests but the interests of their foreign allies who were first off the block to pre-empt the envisaged referendum.
The EU has already made adoption of the Draft Constitution at the referendum a pre-condition for lifting sanctions. And US secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes the Copac draft is the Constitution.
Nature abhors a vacuum. If the MDCs do not want to align the Copac draft to the national report, then there is only one logical route to take: Going for elections then put the draft to the people thereafter.
To the winner; the spoils of war.