Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
Professor Lovemore Madhuku says he will lead a process to write a new, “people-driven” Constitution to replace the current one which was a product of negotiation between Zimbabwe’s main political parties, zanu-pf and MDC formations in 2013.
Prof Madhuku, a law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), is a perennial campaigner for constitutionalism and his party, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), was born out of a movement advocating for a new national charter at the turn of the millennium.
Prof Madhuku says his party is not anachronistic as it is also focused on addressing major socio-economic challenges facing the country.
“If we succeed in our endeavours, this country will get a genuinely new, democratic and people-driven Constitution,” he said in an interview yesterday.
“The (2013 (Constitution-making) process was a defective process; the process was actually a zanu-pf and MDC process which was then sold under the misleading notion that it was the people but we all know that the Constitution did not come from the people — it came from those two political parties and we can never be cheated. That is why we are standing alone as a party and the future will know that the generations of 2013 were cheated by the two political parties and the NCA is going on to the political stage to demolish that.
“So, we will certainly urge a new process that will repeal the current constitution. The current constitution cannot be a constitution: it is so much centred on one person — the President — and that cannot be a Constitution.”
On the reforms the NCA envisages, Prof Madhuku said four major areas needed to be looked at. “First of all, we want to provide a clean government. By a clean government we mean a government that is composed of people that are genuinely committed to the interests of the people and have the energy to work for the people,” he said.
“The second thing is a growing economy. A growing economy is one that is able to produce jobs and wealth for everyone. We believe that Zimbabwe has enough resources. The reason why the country is poor is because we do not have people that are managing those economic resources in a way that benefits us all. There is mining here and everything else but that is not benefiting anyone except the big pockets and big companies.
“Next is our health framework. The NCA wants to be different and would want to provide free health for all and ensure we move away from the current disturbing trend where people with all sorts of health problems are paraded on television and newspapers pleading for support from ordinary people when we have a government that must ensure that those people are taken care of.
“We then try and ensure that we improve the quality of education in the country. Quality education means more access to education. What we have is rhetoric. I think in the first few years of Independence, yes, there was provision of quality education and also education for those who could not afford it but that policy has since been abandoned and in the past 15 years or so I have seen people in rural areas dropping out of school. But we are told Zimbabwe is on top of the world when we know really that is not the case, so the NCA will revisit. Ultimately, we can go on and on: improve our mining, improve our agriculture,” said Prof Madhuku.
NCA is fielding 72 House of Assembly candidates out of 210 constituencies while it will also have 500 representatives for the local government elections.
Prof Madhuku insists the race is wide open despite perceptions that it will be a two horse race between Zanu-PF and the MDC Alliance.
He argued that the two big parties – which receive grants from Treasury – had more resources that they were showing off but the secret ballot could still benefit unheralded formations. For his own part, Prof Madhuku said his outfit was stronger than most small parties in terms of representation.