- Last Updated on 10 September 2012
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Zimbabweans in Johannesburg are eager to see the constitutional making process progressing to the referendum. This eagerness was displayed at a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Public Meeting held at Constitution Hill in Johanesburg, South Africa on Sunday the 9th of September. The meeting was addressed by Professor Lovemore Madhuku - Chairperson of the NCA, Hon Douglas Mwonzora -COPAC Co-Chairperson and Spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and Mr. Qubani Moyo from MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube.
The Public Meeting, which was chaired by Vetteran Civic Activist and Crisis Coalition Leader Thoko Matshe, was a continuation of a series of incisive debates which the Crisis Coalition has been holding on key matters in Zimbabwe under the banner of "The Crisis Debate €. The key message from the panelists which was echoed by the audience was that the the Politicians need, as a matter of urgency, to agree on a draft and move towards finalising the Constitution Making Process through presenting the COPAC Draft Constitution to the people for scrutiny and debate and eventually assent or rejection at a Referandum.
At the meeting, the two MDC formations were unanimous on taking the draft constitution to the referendum, without further amendments, especially those proposed by ZANU PF. The NCA which has been vocal in dismissing the COPAC led constitution making process, agreed with the position of finalising the process and allowing people to judge for themselves at a referendum, leaving ZANU PF as a lone hindrance to further progress of the process. The NCA Chairperson, was however quick to qualify their position, stating that they would want the process to be completed, not because they so value and bennefit from the draft, but because the process has taken an inordinate amount of time and has to be concluded and so that they can meet the referrandum with their campaign for a "No Vote €.
The panel was asked about the National Report, which has been a demand placed on the table by ZANU PF as evidence of their assertions that peoples views were left out. In response, Honorable Douglas Mwonzora gave an analogy, saying
"A national report is just like a school report, You start with setting the syllabus, teaching the syllabus, setting exams, marking the exams and then producing a report. You cannot have a report of something that is still in the process. €
Qubani Moyo chipped in on the same matter, highlighting that, at the moment the best National Report that people can have was the COPAC Draft of the 18th of July 2012, which is a summation of views collated and collected across the country during the outreach phase.
Both Mwonzora and Moyo agreed that the current draft constitution by Copac is not the best of the documents, but argued that it was a much better constitution than the current one. Whilist Madhuku agreed that the draft had some imperfections but was better than the Lanchaster Constitution, he cautioned Zimbabweans from blindly supporting their political parties, urging them to read the draft, form their own opinons first, before deciding whether to support their political party positions or not. He attempted to persuade the audience that the question of the constitution was different from an election, saying that nothing stops people from diasagreeing with their parties on the constitution, yet still vote for them at elections.
ZANU PF's Paul Mangwana had been invited to the meeting, but had excused himself, seconding Senior Law Officer in the Attorney Generals Office Chris Mutangadura, who was a no show on the day of the meeting.