Mixed reaction meets ‘agreement’ on constitution

COPAC principals

By Alex Bell
18 January 2013

The announcement by the principals in the unity government of their approval of the draft constitution has been met with mixed reaction from Zimbabweans, with many still expressing doubts about the contents of the new charter.

Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube announced Thursday that the draft had been finalised, three years after the process of writing a new constitution was started. The document still needs to be ‘rubber-stamped’ by the standing committees of the political parties in government, ZANU PF’s politburo and the full COPAC parliamentary committee, before a final draft goes to a referendum.

The news has so far been cautiously welcomed, because it means the drawn out constitution making process is finally gaining some momentum towards a referendum. But there are also concerns being raised that the process is far removed from the people-driven one that was originally promised, and the result will be a constitution with few changes from the current Lancaster House charter.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) said on Friday that it remains “unshaken” by the agreement reached by government, because “the COPAC process was illegitimate, undemocratic and not people driven.” NCA spokesperson Madock Chivasa told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the constitution is clearly politicised and will be “rejected” if key changes are not made.

“This has fallen short of the democratic process of coming up with a new constitution because the government leaders were the ones to finalise it. That is even worse than the COPAC driven process. So we hope they’ve made some changes, for example the unlimited powers of the President. But if the views of the people have not been taken into account, they will reject it,” Chivasa said.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) also expressed reservations on Friday about the lack of public input, both in the making of the draft and in the coming ‘rubber stamping’ process.

“Citizens should be given an opportunity to understand the draft, debate it and make choices based on information and awareness of the contents of the constitution. The constitution is for Zimbabweans and they need to be prioritised in these processes. The draft has to be translated and summarised into content that is accessible and understandable to citizens to enable informed choices at the referendum,” ZESN said.

The groups added that is “concerned that taking the draft back to the parties’ standing committees and the politburo will regress the process as more changes will be proposed and negotiations will commence again, thus hindering the progress to referendum.”

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7 Responsesto “Mixed reaction meets ‘agreement’ on constitution”

  1. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    Wilbert Mukori can now use his power of critical thinking and analysis to give us more detail. As the political commentator, may I suggest that he makes it simple for the man in the street to understand and more importantly for comrades Dumbu and Super Mondo, or Mr Bafoon, if you like.

    • wilbert_mukori says:

      The Copac draft will do nothing deliver free and fair elections and all this talk of the draft cutting the presidential powers is nonsense. If the electorate are free to elect a president what good is it to them that the candidate imposed on them will serve two five-year terms.
      It is like a woman with a violent boy friend being told she will no choice but marry the brute and the plus is she can divorce him in ten years! Only idiots like MDC would consider this an “incremental democratic gain!”

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        If you have not made it simpler for Yepec, surely it should be very difficult to understand for Super Mondo, Dumbu and others. You see, all our hopes and aspirations are underpinned by your wise and well informed commentary Wilbert.

        • Yepec says:

          Your comment to Wilbert Mukori should not involve third parties. If you have a criticism to make on his comment, be bold enough to do so and answerable for your comment. On the other hand, if you do not understand it, take your time to findout what he means which means. You might have to give up on the Draft upon which the Principals have agreed until you have understood the criticism.

  2. Yepec says:

    Matakadyakare haanyengedze mwana, hence, the often written comment of this “rubbish/nonsense Copac Draft”, without offering tangible alternatives or plausible-political solutions to the situation prevailing in Zimbabwe, is pie in the sky. The masses who are daily suffering under oppression are not interested in it nor the vendetta against Tsvangirai / MDC-T but the political solutions being offered.

    Looking at the criticism on its own, one can see that it does not lead to DEMOCRACY neither does it offer solutions to free and fair elections. Additionally, if an “incremental constitution” is being mistaken for an “incremental democratic gain” then one really begins to wonder about the understanding of this so-called Political Analyst.

    • wilbert_mukori says:

      Yepec just because you do not want to accept an answer that does not conform with you very narrow grasp of issues that does not mean the answer is not a solution. You have taken the answer Tsvangirai has offered you without questioning or are totally incapable of questioning it and now you are angry with those who have questioned the solution and showed just how shallow it is.

      Do you accept that this Copac constitution will do nothing to stop political violence?

      If yes, do you then accept that an election process marred by violence cannot be free and fair?

      And an election that is not free and fair cannot be a true reflection of the democratic will of the people?

      You are unbelievable thick Yepec, I told you that before sadly it is true.

      • Yepec says:

        The above is not an answer to the issues of “plausible-political solutions” and lack of understanding of an “incremental Constitution”. In other words, what better offer, do you have than what is on the table?

        The oppressed masses of Zimbabwe sees through your demagoguery and will repudiate you by voting YES in the coming Referendum. Thereafter, you need to re-brand yourself or else you will not be able to earn a living.

        Peaceful polls are not a function of a Constitution but commitment of the Parties or people to it. Bringing the culprits to court during and after the elections, will not make them free and fair either.

        The simple answer is the leaders at the top and their Parties must be committed to the principles and are intend of the Constitution, therefore, implementing it to the letter.

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