By Wilbert Mukori
On the 16 March 2013 Zimbabweans will be voting in a referendum. If they THINK and BELIEVE the COPAC constitution is the DEMOCRATIC constitution they were promised in the GPA, they must vote yes but if they think otherwise then they must vote no.
My position is that the COPAC constitution is too weak and feeble to deliver any basic rights, including the right to free and fair elections, with a free media and free of violence.
Without even reading the draft constitution one can already see the upcoming elections will not be free and fair; media is not free and the infrastructure behind the violence in past elections is still there and primed for action. These thing are not going to suddenly disappear the day COPAC is enacted into law.
But what is it in the COPAC constitution itself that makes me say it is rubbish?
A constitution is a social contract between each and every one of us to our fellow countrymen and women alive, and yet to be born, to do unto each and every one of them as we would want them to do unto us. To accord to them the same rights, freedoms and liberties as we want them to accord to us – the bill of rights.
We the people then brought in a third party, government –the super numeral public servant – to supervise the implementation of this social contract between the citizens and to perform other public duties like build roads and schools.
We the people concede to government only such powers and authority we deem necessary for it to perform its public functions for the common good. The bulk of the constitution spells out the system of government, the limits of its powers, the checks and balances, etc.
In a democracy the people retain the overall power over government and the ultimate expression of this power is that the people elect, in periodic free and fair elections, who will govern.
Mugabe and his cronies have amended, undermined and violated the word and spirit of the Lancaster House Constitution and usurped the people’s power. What we have in Zimbabwe is a de facto Zanu PF dictatorship. So instead of the regime serving us the public; it has been us the people who have been the servants, indeed slaves, to the tyrant and his cronies.
Mugabe and his cronies own farms, houses, mines, companies; they have taken away our all rights, freedoms, our human dignities and hope; etc. All they have ever done is take, take, take.
If evolution was not such a slow process, then Mugabe’s taking hand would have become so big and powerful after all these years of taking this, taking that, take, take; he would now resemble a jumping frog with three hind legs.
If this COPAC constitution is worth a candle then it must end this Mugabe dictatorship and restore all the people’s rights, including the right to free and fair elections, free of violence.
This COPAC constitution talks of, “Everyone has the right to life!” A standard statement uplifted from any constitution; on its own it is but empty words to please the fools.
But if one was to add a clause like: All public unrest and deaths other than by natural causes will be subject to a full independent and public judiciary inquiry. All those found guilty will serve a minimum and mandatory jail term of five years for assault and thirty years for murder with no possibility of a presidential pardon! Hah, even the nut case Chipangano thugs will sit up and listen.
It is wilfully inadequate to saying the country’s security sector must act “in an none partisan manner” which is all that COPAC says.
The umbilical cord tying Mugabe to these key state organs must be cut if these institutions are to play their part in providing the checks and balances of power demanded of them in a functioning and healthy democracy. These are the reforms agreed in the GPA, the reforms Mugabe has stubbornly refused to implement.
Implement the reforms and you will be dismantling the dictatorship brick by brick, which is why Mugabe has refused. This COPAC constitution was written knowing full well that reforms will not be implemented and therefore the dictatorship was not to be dismantled, the very thing it was meant to do. So clearly this COPAC constitution is rubbish.
When PM Tsvangirai says the COPAC constitution was a “compromise”; what he means is Mugabe refused to implement the reforms necessary to restore our basic rights and the MDC simply capitulated. “Pamareforms Mugabe akamba zvachose; akatsvika madziro!”
Compromise! It was and still is not for Tsvangirai to bargain our most basic and cherished rights, including our right to life itself, as if these rights were mangoes for him to dispose of as he pleased! And by the same token; it was and still is not for Mugabe to grant and deny these basic rights as if they were sweets being given out to children!
So having failed to produce a constitution to guarantee us our rights PM Tsvangirai now has to rely on Mugabe to keep his word and keep the peace. Only an idiot would trust Mugabe to keep his promise and, worse still, would hang the whole nation’s future on that spider’s thread!
The nation must be ruled by law and not by the whim of a dictator! Indeed that is exactly what this whole exercise is about; to write the supreme law of the land, the constitution. If there is a job worth doing right, this is it. We can fudge it and adopt this COPAC rubbish but we will pay a heavy price for it!
Whether or not COPAC will stop the violence is the big issue over which this referendum will be decided. If you believe the violence will not happen then vote yes! If, like me, you know the violence will happen if elections go ahead without the reforms, then vote no.
Why has PM Tsvangirai and the MDC endorsed this COPAC constitution if it is rubbish? That we can discuss some other day.