Madhuku should be guided by Kariba draft: Moyo

The NCA and its civil society partners have said they are organising their own constitutional convention to counter the ongoing constitution-making process.

In interviews yesterday, observers said civic society should not make it a habit to disparage the Kariba draft without giving any meaningful contributions to the constitution-making process.

Independent House of Assembly Member for Tsholotsho North, who is also former Information Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo said: "He (NCA chairman Dr Lovemore Madhuku) should either add or subtract something from the Kariba draft otherwise it will be difficult for his contribution to find constitutional expression.

"If he is serious he should be guided by the Kariba draft. He will have a good chance of shaping the constitution."

Prof Moyo said only an "irresponsible Government" would use a document drafted by a foreign-funded NGO to base its own constitution-making process on.

However, MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said he found nothing wrong with the NCA producing its own draft.

"We are a member of the NCA. Whatever you see is basically a reflection of our membership in that organisation.

"There is nothing amiss in the NCA producing a draft. Nobody should see mischief."

Political analyst Dr Joseph Kurebwa said he was not in a position to comment on the NCA- proposed draft constitution without details of the organisation’s representation or membership base.

He said only when he knew how wide the NGO’s membership was could he gauge the national outlook of the NCA draft.

Dr Madhuku’s draft constitution, published in a local weekly on Sunday, claimed it was the result of a "broad section" of the people of Zimbabwe and demanded that Government enact it into law.

But Prof Moyo was adamant that Dr Madhuku was not best-placed to inform a national constitution-making process.

He and other observers advised Dr Madhuku to be guided by the Kariba draft to demonstrate that civic society really cared about the will of the people.

The country’s three main political parties had consensus in the Global Political Agreement that created the inclusive Government that they would be guided by the Kariba draft in the process of writing a new constitution.

The adoption of a new constitution will lead to the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections.

"Only an irresponsible Government will take a document like that and use it to make a constitution for the country. They (the NCA) are entitled to indulge in a sponsored academic exercise but making a national constitution is not an academic exercise," Prof Moyo said.

He said the constitution-making process was an important exercise that was supposed to be transparent and done by people with legal authority.

"They (NCA) are not a legal authority, it may have been written by Madhuku and another per-son in a bar. We do not make a constitution like that.

"It is not helpful at all. It is just a cynical way of trying to counter the Kariba draft, to say there are many drafts out there with equal status," observed Prof Moyo.

He added: "It is true there are a zillion draft constitutions out there and the NCA one is an example of the zillions but none of them have the same status as the Kariba draft."

While admitting that he personally did not subscribe to the Kariba draft, Prof Moyo said the document was a product of the same political forces that make the current Government and therefore had legal and moral force.

"The NCA one comes from people who have money but do not have responsibility. It is not because we support the Kariba draft. We cannot have every Jimmy and Jack sitting and producing a draft in the hope that it will have the same status as the Kariba draft."

He said Dr Madhuku had a reputation of writing constitutions "to fit his interests" adding "people like that must not be allowed to be very close to national constitution-making processes".

"People like that are dangerous and belong to the past," Prof Moyo said.

Political activist and Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe said his organisation supported both the Parliament-led process and the NCA position.

"As civil servants and teachers organisation we will go with both the Government and NCA positions. We cannot boycott the Government process.

"If the Government process is going to see the light of the day and we boycott it, we will have nobody to blame but ourselves," said Mr Majongwe.

"We urge Zimbabweans to go with the Government process and the NCA one because ultimately Zimbabweans have to fully subscribe. We are going to support both processes."

An analyst with the University of Zimbabwe’s Institute of Development Studies said it was "hypocritical" for Dr Madhuku to "foist his own document on the nation and call it people-driven".

"How many members does the NCA have? How representative is it of the Zimbabwean populace? These are donor-driven documents that can only have a donor-driven agenda.

"No one ever elected Madhuku. In fact, as far as we know, he manipulated the NCA’s constitution a few years ago so that he could stick around as the national chairman.

"So how far can we trust the motives of such a person? Personally and as an academic and as a Zimbabwean I feel that you can never place Madhuku’s donor document at par with the Kariba draft that was agreed to by the parties that have the popular representation of the Zimbabwean electorate.

"Madhuku can only come in as any other ordinary stakeholder," he said. The Herald