MDC parties’ ‘Yes’ campaign ‘ill-advised’
ORDINARY Zimbabweans have been reduced to mere spectators in the country’s
protracted constitution-making process as their input has been virtually
ignored although they are the key stakeholder.
Report by Staff Writer
The Copac draft is under dispute with Zanu PF demanding that its 266
proposed amendments be incorporated into the draft.
The MDC formations insist only the Second All-Stakeholders Conference and
parliament can amend the draft since all three parties participated in
The MDC-T has launched a “Yes Vote” campaign even before the draft is
debated by an all-stakeholders’ conference where the public’s views would be
heard through civil society and interest groups. The other MDC has also
launched a “Yes Vote” camp.
But Zimbabweans have not been afforded the opportunity to see if their views
were properly captured and attempts to persuade them to reject or accept
the draft suggest the process is compromised by party political positions.
Development analyst Maxwell Saungweme described the MDC-T’s “Yes Vote”
campaign as ill-advised and premature saying it goes against principles and
dictates of public participation in issues concerning the people.
“It’s really hard to imagine that the MDC-T could rush into launching such a
campaign without first taking the draft to their constituents and
stakeholders,” said Saungweme.
“Even authoritative sources like Freedom House and Afrobarometer in recent
surveys have clearly shown that the majority of Zimbabweans have not yet
read this draft. There are areas of concern such as devolution which a good
number of Zimbabweans are concerned about that are not addressed by this
draft,” he said.
Governance analyst David Takawira said the move by the MDC-T makes them
“We won’t move forward without the three parties agreeing,” said Takawira.
“The strategy is not doing the leader (Morgan Tsvangirai) any good given the
fact that tomorrow he would be forced to make a major climb down from the
current position, which would further put citizens into a frenzy of
confusion and his leadership and judgment into question.”
The National Constitutional Assembly’s Blessing Vava believes it was rather
ambitious for the MDC-T to launch a “Yes Vote” campaign.
“The MDC parties never wanted participation of the people of Zimbabwe in
writing the constitution and their “Yes Vote” campaign is a declaration that
they are only concerned about themselves and not the interests of all
Zimbabweans,” said Vava.
Saungweme concurred with Vava saying the launch demonstrates how the MDC
parties’ leadership is obsessed with dictating issues and policies to people
through “top-down” approaches instead of going through the consultative
Saungweme said this move could prove costly to the parties because there are
many reasons why people should vote “No” against the draft constitution as
it falls short of the expectations of the majority.
He also said people wants to know how the millions of dollars were used by
the political parties since they are still bickering at the end of the
According to estimates, US$50 million was spent on the process.