Fears that ZANU PF planning to dismiss new constitution

July 18, 2012 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

By Alex Bell

There are fresh fears that plans are being laid by ZANU PF to dismiss the
proposed new constitution, in a move that will ensure there are no voting
rights for the Diaspora.

There is still no confirmation about when the draft charter will be
released, but ZANU PF has repeatedly shown resistance to the document
spearheaded by the COPAC team.

Robert Mugabe’s party has been advocating for the ‘Kariba Draft’
constitution, which was a negotiated document made well before COPAC was
tasked with setting the laws for a new, democratic Zimbabwe.

More than three years and an estimated US$75 million later, the COPAC draft
is believed to be ready for release with a referendum expected later this
year. But recent developments in Parliament have left some members of the
public questioning if this new charter will ever be allowed to be

Last week, the Human Rights Commission Bill was passed with a provision for
a blanket amnesty for perpetrators of human rights abuses before February
2009. The Electoral Amendment Bill was also put before Parliament and it is
in the process of being passed without the key amendments to allow for a
Diaspora vote.

SW Radio Africa has been told that these oversights were part of a ‘horse
trading’ agreement made by the principals in government, and debate by MPs
was not taken into consideration. The MDC-T has also admitted that
concessions needed to be made to ensure the two Bills were passed, as
another solid move towards fresh elections.

The party also dismissed concerns about the Human Rights ‘omission’ Bill and
the Electoral Bill, stating that, once the new constitution is in place,
amendments can be made to these Bills.

Dewa Mavhinga from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told SW Radio Africa
that “it is very concerning and worrying that the Electoral Bill appears to
have been fast tracked through Parliament. We have to wonder if perhaps
there is some trickery afoot.”

“This is where some explanation is needed from the MDC-T. Is this a case of
capitulation to entrench the ZANU PF position, or is there real intention to
make the necessary amendments?” Mavhinga asked.

His concerns were also echoed by UK based commentator Wilbert Mukori who
said the whole manner in which the Bills were passed “doesn’t make any

“ZANU PF seems to be looking at these issues as if this is set in stone. It
is clear that ZANU PF is not expecting the constitution to ever be enacted,”
Mukori said.


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