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Let the people decide!

Zimbabwe is currently undertaking a constitution making process which is a critical element of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and a key marker on the roadmap to elections. Political parties have drawn their daggers and are pushing for the inclusion of their positions on contentious issues such as the Presidency and Devolution. In all the political bickering and apparent back biting, it seems political players have deliberately forgotten the role played by the citizens in the conclusion of the constitution making process. The state media continues to irresponsibly parrot the position of ZANU PF and has failed to offer a balanced and objective analysis of the proposed draft. Resultantly, the people, whose views were collected and presumably inputted into the draft seem to have been sidelined with the political parties bringing in their own demands.

Contrary to allegations by ZANU PF, the public media and some military personnel that the drafters are attempting to 'smuggle' content not raised by citizens during the outreach phase of the process, sources privy to the goings on in the Parliament Select Committee (COPAC) have indicated that ZANU PF is the chief culprit in attempting to smuggle content into the constitution.

'ZANU PF is proposing;1. The retention of prosecution powers to the Attorney General, 2. Appointment of Executive Commissioners by the President alone and; 3. Full political rights for armed forces (legally authorizing public support of political parties by the military),' said the source.

The political party, whose support base has dwindled over the past decade, cannot purport to represent majority views when the majority of Zimbabweans voted against them in the 2008 plebiscite. Any well meaning political party would allow citizens to decide what they want in their constitution. ZANU PF is afraid of a constitution which safeguards people's rights, neutralizes the powers of the incumbent President and allows for greater accountability by the Executive. All parties to the GPA must work together to develop a constitution that all Zimbabweans can be proud of, that will stand the test of time and stand as a beacon for future generations to come.

 

However, it seems ZANU PF is working against the completion of the process. In a meeting held earlier this week, the faction ridden political party, was divided into the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions with the Mujuru faction disowning the draft constitution raising questions on whether ZANU PF is keen to complete the constitution making process. It is apparent that ZANU PF failed to influence the content of the constitution during the outreach phase where they used coaching, intimidation and violence to force citizens to parrot the political party's position on the constitution which included maintaining an all- powerful President.

The public media, which is ideally supposed to serve the interests of citizens as opposed to promoting political party agendas has gone all out in rubbishing the drafters, draft constitution and COPAC and in circulating hate speech particularly from political chameleon, Professor Jonathan Moyo. Instead of providing balanced information on the content of the first draft and allowing the people to decide at a referendum whether they want the proposed constitution or not, the public media has virtually declared the draft a ghastly document, on behalf of the people. The Herald's alleged fabrications on the issue of devolution were attacked by COPAC co- Chairperson, Paul Mangwana who accused them of defaming him. Talk about irresponsible journalism!

Jonathan Moyo's hate speech has sparked concerns from both factions of the MDC and some elements within ZANU PF. Reports abound that during a cabinet meeting, both MDC factions and elements within ZANU PF raised concerns over Moyo's conduct. Instead of dealing decisively with Moyo and issuing stern warnings to the ZANU PF Politburo member, President Mugabe simply said that hate speech should cease.  Could it be that the octogenarian leader is deliberately stalling progress in the conclusion of the constitution making process to push for early polls?

THE Zanu PF youth league has said Zimbabwe should abandon the constitution-making process and go for elections under the Lancaster House constitution, adding its voice to calls by President Robert Mugabe and his loyalists that the process should be ditched if the delays persist and the draft constitution does not include "majority views €.

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