Articles

Political parties should put citizens' interests first

"Acknowledging that it is the fundamental right and duty of the Zimbabwean people to make a constitution by themselves and for themselves; Aware that the process of making this constitution must be owned and driven by the people and must be inclusive and democratic €¦ €

Article 6 of the GPA

The above declaration is part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by ZANU PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations. The NewsDay today Monday 23 April 2012 reported that the constitution-making process is heading for another glitch after it emerged the three co-chairpersons of the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) are divided over whether or not the country's three principals should intervene and fast-track the process. The three co-chairpersons Edward Mkhosi (MDC), Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) declared a deadlock over three outstanding issues, dual citizenship, devolution and Executive powers and referred the matter to the COPAC management committee which is now mandated to refer it further to the principals for a quick resolution.

 

The writing of the new Constitution which started three years ago has been stalled on several occasions due to disagreements among political parties driving the process. The Global Political Agreement to which all parties are signatories clearly spells out that the constitution making process which is a key ingredient of Zimbabwe's democratisation agenda must be embarked upon. For the past three years, all parties to the GPA have been active participants in the constitution making process and have even determined key events in this process. All are represented in the Select Committee and the management committee which are the bodies running this process and agree that the constitution must be completed without delay. In crafting the roadmap, all the negotiators from across the political divide agreed that the completion of the constitution making process is a key milestone in the journey towards free and fair elections. But for all parties to continuously argue over the contents of the constitution shows their insincerity and disregard for the views gathered during the outreach phase of the constitution making process.

The people of Zimbabwe participated in the public outreach exercise and spoke on what they want included in the constitution. They are therefore waiting patiently for the official draft to see whether their views were adequately covered. The lack of commitment by parties in the Global Political Agreement in constitutional reforms as evidenced by the delays in finalising the draft constitution is worrisome. There is need for the GPA signatories to exhibit the political will to deliver on their promises to citizens, for without conviction, the process will die.

It is therefore necessary for the political parties that make up COPAC to put aside their differences and for once work towards the good of the country in resolving this issue. They should also stop taking the people of Zimbabwe for granted and cease holding the nation at ransom over unending selfish differences.

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