SADC must stop ZANU PF from derailing the constitution making process

The two main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations must maintain their current unity against ZANU PF's attempt to subvert constitutional reform process as set under the Global Political Agree-ment (GPA) and Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) must stand by the agreement that it has facilitated and guaranteed. The re-gional body should also fortify its position against the clear intention of ZANU PF to destroy the GPA.

Speaking before the South African Parliamentary Portfolio committee on International Relations, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Board Member and Director of Research for Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT), Professor Bri-an Raftopolous urged SADC to block ZANU PF from derailing the consti-tution making process since it was now empirically clear that ZANU PF would once again want to subject Zimbabweans to a fraudulent elec-tion under a constitution that has repeatedly been amended to suit the distortions of executive power that have played so large a role in bringing about the country's current predicament.

He urged the Western countries to support SADC diplomatically, in its efforts to regroup and confront the dangerous path that ZANU PF has once again embarked on.

"This situation calls for renewed efforts to build an international con-sensus on Zimbabwe that must be led by SADC and national political forces inside Zimbabwe", said Professor Raftopolous.

He said that the current gridlock over the constitution making process is yet another example of ZANU PF's *Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front+ consistent attempts to thwart reform in this area since the late 1990s and that the objective tactics currently employed by Mugabe's party reflect its persistent use of the constitution to undermine popular sovereignty and craft a party-state around centralised presidential powers.

"The Constitution Select Committee *COPAC+ process constructed under the Global Political Agreement *GPA+ mediated by the Southern African Development Community *SADC+ provides a narrow window of opportunity to put in place the conditions for a generally acceptable election. Thus the on-going attempts by ZANU PF to undermine this process present not only the danger of another contested election outcome in Zimbabwe, but the undermining of SADC' mediation role".

Professor Raftopolous told the committee that since the consummation of the Inclusive Government, ZANU PF's strategy has been to manipulate and stall the reform provisions in the GPA, and to regroup and reconfigure its political resources after plunging to the nadir of its legitimacy in the 2008 electoral defeat.

"As a way forward it is therefore imperative that the democratic forces in Zimbabwe, SADC and the European Union develop a consensus on the need to respect the constitutional reform process set out under the GPA and in doing so narrow the diplo-matic space for ZANU PF to once again frustrate this process. The building of such a consensus must be led by national political forces and SADC
" said Professor Raftopolous.

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