‘No way out for Mugabe’

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have no room to reject the draft constitution crafted by the Constitution Parliamentary Committee (Copac), MDC-T spokesperson and one of the Copac chairpersons, Douglas Mwonzora, said yesterday.

The Global Political Agreement, which gave birth to the formation of the inclusive government between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, mandated Copac to draft the constitution after consulting the electorate.

Addressing journalists in Harare, Mwonzora, who was speaking in the company of party secretary-general Tendai Biti, said if Mugabe and Zanu PF were to reject the proposed governance charter, they would have turned against Zimbabweans and should be prepared to face the consequences.

“If the people of Zimbabwe vote ‘yes’, which I know they will if it is not changed, and Mugabe decides not to sign the draft constitution after the people of Zimbabwe have voted ‘yes’, then that’s his own problem. We are actually waiting to see that kind of scenario,” said Mwonzora.

Zanu PF is currently deadlocked as the party’s politburo has held three successive meetings in which they have failed to come up with a position on the draft constitution as some hardliners in the party reportedly want to have the process abandoned.

Speaking to journalists, Biti accused Zanu PF of trying to negotiate the draft constitution to suit Mugabe at the expense of the people of Zimbabwe.

“You don’t negotiate a constitution for an individual, the problem with Zanu PF is they were negotiating for President Mugabe, they negotiate with the mentality that Mugabe will be there forever,” Biti said.

“A constitution is a contract among citizens on how they want to be governed or misgoverned. It’s a reflection of the political balance sheet of the country.”

The MDC-T secretary-general also said Mugabe had imposed a “Zezuru hegemony” on Zimbabwe which was oppressing people of other ethnic groups.

“At the moment Zimbabwe is among the last countries on the Happiness Index, we are oppressed by Zanu PF,” he said.

Citing the Kenya, Ivory Coast and Egypt experiences, Biti said African leaders had an appetite for power which made it difficult in some circumstances to smoothly transfer power after elections are held.

He, however, added that the draft constitution would ensure that democracy prevailed and power was transferred to the winning candidate following an electoral victory.

“The (draft) constitution is making it very clear that the authority to rule is coming from the people. Our government is very indifferent, there is a culture of impunity, if you go to the rural areas the roads are the same as they were in 1842 when Mzilikazi crossed the Limpopo River.”

At a Press conference held later in the day at the party’s Harvest House headquarters, the MDC-T’s highest decision-making body, the National Council, said it had resolved to urge Zimbabweans to vote ‘yes’ to the draft constitution in the coming referendum.

The party said it had made the decision to accept the draft constitution after a seven-hour meeting.
Biti said the draft represented a milestone achievement for the MDC-T.

“This constitution represented years and years of work by the MDC in advocating for a new people-driven constitution,” said Biti.

A statement released by the party yesterday said: “After extensive deliberation, the National Council resolved to accept the constitutional draft. This is despite the fact that some aspects which the MDC would have wanted included in the draft could not be incorporated. 

“The MDC urges Zimbabweans to ignore prophets of doom who have dismissed the constitution as they want to reverse the gains made by the people.” – NewsDay