HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has contemptously dismissed the ongoing Sadc facilitation in an impasse over a new draft constitution.
Zanu PF said it will not yield in their demand to make sweeping changes to the draft Constitution, saying President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team that has just concluded its mission in Zimbabwe to meet with negotiators of the three parties, had no business interfering in such a fundamental internal process.
The MDC took the dispute to Jakaya Kikwete, the Sadc troika chairperson, who they want to come to Harare to make Mugabe see reason.
Zanu PF Politburo member Jonathan Moyo said the dispute over proposed amendments to the draft constitution will be resolved by Zimbabweans not foreigners.
“Well, they (MDCs) can take any issue including this one anywhere they want, it is their democratic right,” Moyo said. “But, this is a GPA process, and within the GPA, it is very clear that the issues of our internal governance especially something as important and as fundamental as a constitution can only be done and made by Zimbabweans.
And it is Zimbabweans who will decide this, there is no foreigner who is going to decide for us. So this idea of wanting to run to foreigners is obviously typical of them (MDCs), but Zimbabweans
are their own liberators. ”
A tripartite select committee of Zimbabwean lawmakers writing the charter approved the new draft constitution on July 18, 2012, proposing key changes to the country’s basic law, which was scheduled
to be presented to a stakeholders conference before it is submitted to a referendum that was tentatively scheduled for October.
But Zanu PF’s top organ the Politburo has made sweeping changes. The two MDC parties have rejected the changes. Zanu PF says the two MDCs know that the draft is not perfect, and want same-sex marriages explicitly banned in the draft, and is also against devolution, dual citizenship and the US system of running mates for presidential candidates.
“You should check the record and you will find that each of the two MDC formations has described the document as imperfect and they have said they just want to use it for transitional purposes. They think
that the bad draft, which enshrines homosexuality, which is based on foreign ideas and borrowed institutions that have no history or roots here will be useful for them to transfer power or grab power from the people to them and now they can now sit back with the people,” Moyo said.
He added: “We have taken a principled position from the beginning, that the draft that comes out of the Copac process must reflect the views of the people as gathered by and during the Copac outreach
“And two, these deals should make or form the basis for principles of a constitution for all times and we are sticking to that taking into account the history of our country. This country did not fall from the
sky, this country is a product of a liberation struggle. That liberation struggle had values, objectives and ideals which must inform us and which must inform the fundamental law of the land.” Tsvangirai told reporters this week that Mugabe has no veto power over the draft.
Zanu PF has said if the Copac negotiations fail, the country musty hold elections under the old constitutional order. “We should take comfort from the fact that our country has a functioning constitution,” Moyo said. “We may have a dysfunctional GPA government, but we have a functional constitution and that as recently as six or so weeks ago both houses of parliament passed the Electoral
Amendment Act and that we have a very strong institutional and legal background to hold free and fair elections.”
“We cant have a draft constitution which is a manifesto for anybody,” he said. Seemingly locked in denial, Moyo said there was no deadlock. “So there is no problem about a stalemate,” Moyo said. “The principals are still seized with the Copac draft incorporating Zanu PF amendments. And they haven’t pronounced themselves one way or another as principals and we have to wait for that process..”
Zimbabwe now faces the risk of going for fresh polls under the 19-times amended Lancaster House constitution. Copac has spent over $45million , mainly in donor funds.