MDCs say no to Zanu PF

HARARE – Zanu PF and the two MDC formations are on a collision path as the MDCs have vowed not to be pushed by the former ruling party to renegotiate the constitutional draft charter.

Zanu PF, through its politburo, is pushing for major constitutional draft amendments before the charter is taken to a Second All Stakeholders conference.

Over the past three weeks, the former ruling party’s politburo has spent more than 50 hours perusing the draft constitution and seeking to push the Copac management committee to make amendments which suit them.

The Daily News has been told that President Robert Mugabe has particularly expressed concerns on three main issues — devolution, dual citizenship and the hot issue of Presidential running mates. Last week’s politburo meeting also came up with a host of other potential amendments and additions which they want to push through the management committee.

The MDCs’ stance is likely to set the stage for a bruising constitutional contest ahead of a Sadc summit set for Maputo, Mozambique later this week.

After last week’s politburo meeting, Zanu PF produced a cocktail of proposed amendments that could change the Copac draft.

The former ruling party is adamant that Copac should give in and accept their proposals arguing that the draft was actually not the final product.

Rugare Gumbo said Zanu PF was not going to budge.

“The constitutional draft is not final and we will not go to a referendum without amendments. If they want, they can go alone. We want to hammer a draft that is acceptable to all and not just to two parties,” said the Zanu PF spokesperson.

But the MDCs have already endorsed the draft charter and are already preparing for the upcoming Second All Stakeholders conference.

MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Zanu PF will not have its way with the draft constitution this time around.

“The draft constitution that we have is not a product of the MDC alone but a result of two key processes that Zanu PF participated in – the outreach process and the negotiation. In both instances, Zanu PF was equally and ably represented by people with a requisite mandate.”

“We cannot possibly re-subject the draft to further negotiation. As far as we are concerned, it is decision time for Zimbabweans including those that support Zanu PF on whether what we have is a good or bad draft,” Mwonzora said.

Speaking to his party supporters in Silobela yesterday, the smaller MDC party leader Welshman Ncube said his party will not play into the Zanu PF political games.

He said his party was done with negotiating the draft constitution.

“If they (Zanu PF) think their rejection will draw the MDC back to negotiation, then they are misleading themselves, we will not go back there. If they are not happy, they can produce their own draft that will be taken to the people together with the Copac draft. The people will choose as they know what they said. They will vote for a draft that is reflective of their views,” said Ncube.

Zanu PF Copac management committee members Nicholas Goche, Patrick Chinamasa and Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana have come under attack from the Zanu PF politburo with Gumbo accusing the trio of not being sensitive to the party principles when they negotiated the draft constitution.

The constitution making process has so far gobbled more than $40 million since it started three years ago and is regarded by Sadc, brokers of the uneasy coalition government, as a huge step towards political stability in Zimbabwe.

Gumbo ruled out the possibility of the GNU crumbling because of the latest standoff between the two protagonists.

Serial political flip flopper, Jonathan Moyo whose comments are widely seen as a reflection of the thinking by Zanu PF hardliners, believes the coalition government principals have the final say on the impasse.

“GPA political principals are yet to pronounce themselves on the so-called Copac final draft constitution one way or the other. Unless and until that happens, the chit-chat out there about the so-called final Copac draft constitution will remain the mumbo-jumbo it is,” Moyo wrote in a lengthy article in the state media.

However, Mwonzora said principals are not part of the process but Parliament.

“We hope to see the revised document but they are wasting their time because the constitution has been written and it is decision time. The people must either accept or reject the draft,” said Mwonzora who added that the draft charter will not be taken to the principals, “this process is parliamentary driven and not executive. Mugabe will have to see the draft from his party.” – Daily News