MDC-T blames ZANU PF for latest COPAC deadlock

Douglas Mwonzora

By Tichaona Sibanda
13 November 2012

The MDC-T has blamed ZANU PF for the latest deadlock to hit the crafting of a new constitution, their spokesman said on Tuesday.

Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa the deadlock emanates from attempts by ZANU PF to refer the COPAC report and draft to the GPA principals instead of sending it to parliament.

‘They want to send the report to Mugabe in particular, so that he can negotiate the constitution. The MDC is insisting the GPA must be followed and that COPAC must present the report and draft to parliament,’ Mwonzora said.

The yawning gaps between ZANU PF and the MDC formations were apparent last month during the opening of the second All Stakeholders conference when Mugabe insisted the principals had the final say on the draft.

But this has been resisted by the other parties and as a result of the stalemate there have been suggestions that SADC mediator Jacob Zuma of South Africa should be brought in.

‘As a consequence of disagreement in this process it is natural that the facilitator must come in. The GPA is explicit in that the constitution-making process is a parliament-driven process and now Mugabe wants to hijack it,’ Mwonzora explained.

The Nyanga North MP warned that there is no way the MDC will agree to circumvent the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

‘The MDC will not short circuit the process. The constitution must be sent to the people of Zimbabwe who are the best arbiters of this process. Zimbabwean people are the best to tell us whether the draft captures what they said or not and not Mugabe and ZANU PF,’

Asked why Mugabe is insisting on having the final say, the MDC-T spokesman was unequivocal in saying that this was because Mugabe was desperate to hold on to power.

‘Mugabe is unhappy with quiet a lot of things. He wants more presidential powers than those prescribed in the draft. He wants the armed and security forces to have a say in the political life of Zimbabwe.

‘He has always been against devolution, he wants to remove the constitutional court and he also wants to retain the Attorney-General with sweeping prosecutorial powers, something which the people of Zimbabwe rejected,’ according to Mwonzora.

In July the draft constitution was released and although it is a less than perfect document it did, to some extent, curtail the sweeping powers of the presidency, enhance individual rights and give more power to local governments.

A new constitution for Zimbabwe was an integral part of a power-sharing deal in 2008 after a disputed election erupted in widespread bloodshed. The violence killed over 500 MDC supporters, maimed thousands and displaced close to half a million others.

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