ZANU PF dismisses draft constitution after marathon meeting

August 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

By Alex Bell

ZANU PF’s top decision making body ended a marathon meeting about the new
constitution in the early hours of Thursday morning, stating it will not
accept the draft in its current form.

The Politburo meeting started on Wednesday, amid speculation that Robert
Mugabe’s party is deliberately stalling on making a decision. This was the
fourth meeting since the draft charter was released late last month, with
ZANU PF still not taking an official position.

Instead, the meeting ended at about 5am on Thursday with the party insisting
that the current draft must be renegotiated. ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo
said that the party could not accept the draft without changes to several
clauses.

“The party is expecting the amendments to be factored in by Wednesday next
week, when the politburo meets to finalize its position on the draft
constitution,” Gumbo said.

ZANU PF’s chief negotiator in the constitution reform process, Patrick
Chinamasa, said after the last Politburo meeting that once the party
executive had reached a final decision on the changes they want, this would
be brought before the Constitution Management Committee.

Gumbo meanwhile had previously expressed confidence that ZANU PF’s partners
in the government would renegotiate, saying: “We cannot afford to see the
process come to naught.”

But the MDC formations in the unity government have both insisted that the
negotiations have been finalised and no more changes can be made to the
document. The two parties have thrown their weight behind the draft, both
saying they will campaign for a ‘yes’ vote ahead of a referendum.

Blessing Vava from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) told SW Radio
Africa on Thursday that ZANU PF has cleverly manipulated the multiple flaws
in the constitution reform process, saying the negotiation loophole is wide
open.

“In a negotiated process, a process steered by politicians, we were likely
to get such scenarios. This process is flawed and these are the loopholes
that have exposed this,” Vava said.

He said that negotiating the document was a deviation from the original
process that was meant to be people driven and this deviation “left the
process open to manipulation and abuse.”

“ZANU PF is capitalising on a flawed process… this was never about the
constitution, it was about the parties getting their preferred positions in
place. And it’s very sad for Zimbabwe,” Vava said.

The NCA official also said that the MDC formations have been ‘duped’ by ZANU
PF into believing that the document is a good one, despite the draft clearly
favouring the ZANU PF position.

“It is ZANU PF that has gained more than the MDC, and all they are doing now
is pushing for more concessions,” Vava said. He added that it was likely the
amendments will be allowed, and soon we will see the Principals in
government giving their approval.

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Zimbabwe president’s party demands changes to draft constitution, some reforms ‘unacceptable’ MDC-T expresses concern over disappearance of activists in Mutare

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