ZBC campaigns for Kariba Draft Constitution

The programme, which  is anchored  by Vantine Mabhugu, discusses the advantages of the Kariba draft and  proposes that it  should  be adapted as the  national constitution.

Introducing the  programme last Wednesday evening Mabhugu said: “The country needs a constitution like the Kariba draft because natural objectives are covered and clearly set out. The  draft  constitution is  gender  sensitive and  protects human rights and  besides  it is  a declaration by  Zimbabweans, because  it  was  crafted by the representative  of the   three major political  parties  that  formed the inclusive  government, hence  it should  be supported and  used  as  a reference.”

The Kariba Draft was drafted in September 2007 by MDC secretary General Tendai Biti, ZANU-PF sympathizer Patrick Chimanasa, MDC-M secretary General Welshmen Ncube and a South African clergyman Frank Chikane.

Mabhugu accused the civic society of not educating people on the pros of the Kariba draft.  “The civic society has been quite about educating the  masses on the constitution making  process  and  we urge them to widen their compaign,and  we  are  worried  about  the this silence from the civil society who  have  been vocal for the  past  years,” he  said.

According to the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) led by Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the Kariba Draft Constitution is an undemocratic document in terms of both process and content and he has urged people of Zimbabwe to reject it. The civic society andMDC have also said the Kariba draft is not the final product as the constitution making process needs to be consultative with all stakeholders including ordinary people.

“The Draft was written in secret, usurping the right of the people of Zimbabwe to write a constitution for them," said Madhuku. "If the Draft was enacted, it would establish a government that would be dominated by the Executive, Parliament, the Judiciary and numerous public offices and bodies would be subject to political manipulation and control. Many of the fundamental rights and freedoms to which Zimbabweans are entitled would not be protected."

He said for these reasons, the Kariba Draft should play no role in constitution-making in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile a special parliamentary committee leading Zimbabwe’s constitutional reform process said it required US$ 9,4 million to complete the first phase of the constitution making process.The phase includes a pending public outreach programme and the all stakeholders programme.

“We require US$ 9,4 million dollars to complete the first phase up to the state where we will be required to hold a constitutional referendum,” said one of the committee’s chairpersons, Paul Mangwana, in an interview with Radio VOP.

“We want to start the outreach programmes next week once all logistics are in place because we have received some of the money required from UNDP and the government.”

Mangwana seats on the constitutional committee representing Zanu PF while the two MDC parties are represented by Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mukhosi.

“We have secured offices in Milton Park, bought three cars for the chairpersons as well as capacitate our staff,” said Mangwana.

The committee’s work had over the past two months stalled due to a lack of funds.

Under last year’s power-sharing deal the country is supposed to have a new constitution in the next two years to pave way for new elections.

The draft constitution will be put before the electorate in a referendum expected in July next year and if approved by Zimbabweans will then be brought before Parliament for enactment. Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is expected to call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government elections.

The new constitution will replace the one in place which was penned in 1979 at the Lancaster House talks in London. It has be amended 19 times since 1980. Radio VOP