Madhuku to join full-time politics

Harare – Political analyst and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) founder member, Dr Lovemore Madhuku has revealed that he is harbouring political ambitions.

Madhuku, who is the current chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) told Radio VOP in an exclusive interview that he will soon turn to politics.

“Yes definitely I am going into politics, my contract at NCA is expiring at the end of next year and besides I am already into politics,” said Madhuku.

Asked whether he will be forming a political party, Madhuku said, “I will not be forming a political party but I will just be campaigning for a particular political position.”

“I am a leader of a movement which is advancing a cause which is political and that makes me a political player,” said Madhuku."

“I am a leader of a movement which is advancing a cause which is political and that makes me a political player”Pressed to indicate when exactly he might make his grand entry into the muddy Zimbabwean political arena, Madhuku said, “The outcome of the referendum will determine the next move.”

Zimbabwe is due to hold a referendum next year to endorse or reject the new constitution that is being put together following a process to gather views from the public spearheaded by a Parliamentary Committee. The process was however marred by political intimidation and violence in most parts of the country.

Previously Madhuku who is blessed with incisive political thought and judgement has been courted by senior members of the MDC party to join them but he has turned them down.

Often times he has predicted how political events in this country will turn out. Recently he predicted a chaotic constitution making process and his prophetic warnings are today a reality after an MDC supporter was killed for giving out his views while hundreds others were assaulted and arrested for participating.

Meanwhile a committee of parliament (COPAC) tasked with coming up with the country’s new constitution is struggling to complete the exercise.

The NCA is mounting a campaign to encourage Zimbabweans to vote against the outcome of the process.

The COPAC process has been facing a plethora of problems ranging from political interference to lack of cash to roll to its programmes.

The NCA which in 2000 successfully campaigned for a “No Vote” in the constitutional referendum is pushing for a similar outcome of the exercise to COPAC process.

The group argues that the whole exercise is “undemocratic” and suffers from political interference.

It has launched a grassroots based campaign which aims to persuade Zimbabweans to reject the outcome of the process in a referendum whose date is not certain due to chaotic programming.

The campaign is being mounted under the theme “Take Charge.” “The campaign is calling people to take charge of the constitution making process,” said Madhuku who himself is a constitutional law expert and seasoned campaigner for the country’s new constitution.

The campaign is structured around small community meetings of about 40 to 100 people in every ward of the country’s districts.

“We are going to the real grassroots to explain why they should Vote No,” said Madhuku.

Madhuku argued that Zimbabwean citizens must reject the outcome of the on-going constitution making process because they did not contribute to the process in a democratic manner.

In 2000 when citizens rejected the proposed constitution President Robert Mugabe’s government simply continued using 1979 Lancaster House Constitution. The constitution has been amended 19 times since independence in 1980 and is blamed for Zimbabwe’s bad human rights record.

Asked if the rejection of the proposed constitution will not worsen Zimbabwe’s political situation, Madhuku said, “We are between a rock and a hard place but the only way to get a better constitution is to have a good start and that comes with the rejection of the draft that shall come out of this process.”

In addition he said the response from Zimbabweans for his campaign been “overwhelming.”
“There is a false notion that Zimbabweans will listen to their political parties, there are a few political activists in both Zanu (PF) and MDC, many Zimbabweans who will vote in the referendum are just ordinary people who can vote either way,” said Madhuku.

Madhuku said the draft that is going to be produced by the COPAC process will largely reflect the views of Zanu (PF) and a few elements from MDC but it will also ultimately reflect the “balance of power in the Government of National Unity,” which is heavily tilted towards President Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party.

Madhuku said the adoption of a new constitution for the country will not mean the death of the NCA.

“It will be naive for us to say immediately after the adoption of a new constitution that we want a democratic constitution, we will accept the result and revert back to some of our organisational mandate that is to provide civic education on constitutional matters,” said Madhuku.

The constitutional process is critical to the future of the country because any future elections are to be held based on it as agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Mugabe and the two MDC leaders, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

The agreement also sets a benchmark for future elections based on security sector reform, establishment of an independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the eradication of political violence.

However the process is lagging behind by months. Mugabe said he is reluctant to extend the lifespan of the GPA, thus he wanted fresh elections by next June.

Meanwhile the COPAC process is now on the drafting stage, thereafter a draft will be taken to Parliament before is put to a referendum. – Radio VOP