Warring Zanu PF factions blocking draft: MDC-T

HARARE – The party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai MDC-T says warring factional fights within Zanu PF are holding back the constitutional reform programme after the Politburo said Wednesday it would take its reservations over the draft direct to the coalition principals.\r\n

The MDC parties have since endorsed the draft while Zanu PF’s politburo ended its third meeting over the document late Wednesday with officials saying the party was now finalising proposed amendments before making public its verdict.

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“Some of us are not taking this thing lightly. It is important that we scrutinise every aspect and every word. We are not against the whole document,” said party spokesman, Rugare Gumbo.

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“There are some good provisions in the document, but there are also other areas we felt deviated from what the people said during the outreach.

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“Our legal team is now putting our amendments in legal language. We should be able to submit the document to the principals after the Heroes holidays.”

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But MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, said the delays were not acceptable, adding Zanu PF should take its reservations to the second stake-holders conference as agreed under the constitutional reform process.

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“Asking Copac or the management committee or the principals to re-negotiate is tantamount to asking Copac, management committee or the principals to decide on the factional feud within Zanu PF,” he said.

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“We are totally against any further negotiations because it is time-wasting and unproductive. Besides, this document is a product of the outreach and negotiation processes.

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“The document must be taken to the Second All Stakeholders Conference where Zanu PF is included, to interrogate the document. They can also wait for the referendum to air out their views.

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MDC official, Qubani Moyo, said Zanu PF’s reservations over the draft came as a surprise claiming the party’s negotiators had endorsed the document. He said the party should campaign for a ‘No Vote’ during the referendum if it was not happy with the document.

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“Every paragraph, line, comma and full stop were negotiated and agreed on by the parties and signed by all their negotiators as confirmation that they identify with both the content and process of Constitution-making,” he said.

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“As such, let the document that has been signed be taken to a referendum as it is and the people will decide through a referendum whether they want it or not.

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“If Zanu PF is strongly against the draft as we are hearing now, they have an option of mobilising their supporters to vote “NO” and if their views are truly the views of the majority of Zimbabweans then obviously their day will prevail.”

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Gumbo however, dismissed the criticism, insisting Zanu PF was right to take its time scrutinising and auditing the draft.

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“They (MDC parties) have a right to express their views, but they will see when we come up with a radical position that we are not playing games,” he said.

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“We are not worried by what they are talking about because we are focused on what we want to achieve. They will see from our position paper that we are serious.

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“There is no factionalism they are talking about. We are all in agreement with what we are doing. Everyone participates and there are no contradictions.”

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Writing a new constitution is part of a number of political reforms agreed under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which facilitated the formation of the coalition government.

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The draft charter is expected to be put to a national referendum leading to new elections now expected next year.