Power struggle rocks NCA as Madhuku clings to power

Harare-The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has been rocked by a power struggle after some members of the constitutional lobby group accused chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku, of seeking to extend his tenure of office beyond its scheduled expiry this week.\r\n

NCA members who spoke to The Mail on condition of anonymity accused Madhuku of being power hungry claiming that the organization’s constitution stipulates that the national executive’s term of office expires on the 26th of this month, but the constitutional law expert wanted to stretch his chairmanship to December.

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“Madhuku is just trying to cling onto power,” said one national executive member. “At the last congress in 2006, instead of stepping down as chairman he decided to unilaterally amend the constitution to allow him to run for another term and now he is in the process of extending his years in office,” he added.

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Another NCA member accused Madhuku of turning the organisation into his personal property and urged him to step down gracefully. He accused Madhuku of manipulating the constitution at the last congress to enable him to remain in power for a long time.

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“Madhuku is just trying to be clever,” said the NCA member. “During the 2006 congress he did not only bulldoze his way into power, but formulated a provision that allowed him and his executive to continue in office even after the expiry of his tenure. He is saying the congress will be held in December, but the truth is that the congress will be held in 2012,” added another NCA member.

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He added: “Madhuku has been on a crusade calling President Mugabe to step down as he has overstayed in power, yet he himself is clinging onto power. He (Madhuku) must step down immediately after the expiry of his tenure on Thursday and pave way for fresh minds.”

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When contacted for comment, Madhuku acknowledged that the current tenure of the national executive expires on Thursday, but said there was a provision within the NCA constitution that allows the executive to continue in office until December when the next congress for the organisation would be held.

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“The national NCA congress is due in December this year for our constitution has a provision that stipulates that executive members of the NCA can continue in office upon the expiry of their tenure in office,” he said.

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“In this case our tenure expires on May 26 but we are allowed by the constitution to stay until the next congress due between December 2011 to June 2012, but we will be having our congress in December,” Madhuku added.

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Madhuku denied that he was power hungry saying the NCA runs its business in an open and transparent manner.

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“We are quite a credible organisation which carries out its affairs in a transparent and clear manner. There is nothing that is done in secrecy,” Madhuku said before referring The Mail to NCA spokesperson Maddock Chivasa for further comment.

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Chivasa said although NCA members were free to air their views, the NCA congress had the final decision.

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“The congress is the highest decision making body and it is the one that decided that the next congress will be held in December. Members of the NCA are free to speak out their minds but it is not true to say Madhuku amended the constitution to suit his own ambitions, the constitution can never be amended by individuals but by NCA congress,” he said.

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This is not the first time that the NCA has been rocked by a power struggle.

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At the NCA’s last congress held in 2006, Madhuku again courted controversy when he allegedly unilaterally amended the organisation’s constitution allowing him to extend his tenure in office beyond the previously allowed a maximum of two terms.

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The congress was marred by controversy, with reports that bouncers were allegedly hired to block NCA members opposed to Madhuku, from voting. – The Mail