The constitution: Political parties holding the nation to ransom

May 13, 2011 at 12:27 am Leave a comment
Recent events occurring within the Constitution Select Committee
(Copac) though not surprising are a yet another clear sign that politicians
and their political parties cannot be trusted to lead critical national
processes such as the constitution-making or national healing process. The
Youth Forum was reliably informed by its sources during the late hours of
Wednesday (May 11) that serious disagreements had emerged at the thematic
committee drafting meetings where political party representatives under the
banner of Copac were analyzing data gathered during the consultative
outreach meetings.

The major disagreement is over whether Copac should use a qualitative or
quantitative approach in considering data for the draft. Using a
quantitative analysis implies going according to what the majority of people
who attended and spoke at the outreach meetings had to say. On the other
hand, the qualitative approach also takes into account what the minority
said during the outreach meetings, with a balance being struck between the
majority and minority. According to Copac Co-chair Douglas Mwonzora, the
management committee had agreed and recommended that the drafters use the
qualitative approach. However in a sensational about-turn on this agreement,
Zanu PF is suddenly advocating for the quantitative method.

The Youth Forum views this latest bickering as another show of insincerity
on the part of political parties in resolving the political impasse that has
stalled general progress in the country. It also further exposes the real
machinations behind the Copac project which has clearly become a
money-making project for some, at the expense of genuine constitutional
reform to take the country forward.
The implications of the latest impasse point to serious flaws in the Copac
process and puts paid to assertions by the NCA, ZCTU, students and other
right-thinking Zimbabweans that the writing of the country’s supreme law
should be led by an independent body and not political parties. While they
(political parties) should also contribute to the process, they should not
lead it. The reason is simple enough – political parties have got narrow
political interests to protect and they will go to great lengths to protect
their interests – even if this implies negating the interests of the general
citizenry as is clearly happening with Zanu PF now.

The Youth Forum contends to this day that the outreach phase of the Copac
process resembled more of a grueling political campaign at the expense of
genuine debate and discussions for coming up with a constitution. Many
observers and stakeholders, including Copac reported of large-scale
intimidation and violence in the run-up to the outreach meetings. The
majority of those that contributed at these meetings were ‘coached’ on the
political party positions that they were to contribute. The majority of the
neutrals were intimidated into being mere spectators of the process, their
role being only to inflate the numbers in attendance and falsely qualify the
process as ‘people-driven’. The fact that the MDC played second fiddle to
Zanu PF during this grueling ‘campaign for positions’ under the guise of
constitution-making should be a lesson to them that they should not
compromise their principles in future when it comes to critical national
processes. They have only themselves and Zanu PF to blame for the mess that
they have dragged the country into.

We implore the political parties that make up Copac to put aside their
differences and for once work towards the good of the country in resolving
this issue. The political parties should not abuse the goodwill shown by the
donor community in pumping millions of dollars towards a project they are
skeptical of. They should also stop taking the people of Zimbabwe for
granted and not hold the nation to ransom over the petty differences. We
also urge SADC and the AU to continue tightening the screws on the political
parties so that we see an end to what has now become to be known as the
‘Zimbabwe crisis’ once and for all.

The Youth Forum also takes this opportunity to urge the youth and the
generality of Zimbabweans to register as voters so that they are eligible to
vote any time that an election is called in Zimbabwe. Take your national
I.D. (identification document) and your proof of residence to the nearest
Registrar-General’s office.

Register to Vote Today – It’s Your Right Anyway!


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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