Copac draft takes away power from the people — Madhuku
THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has demanded that ordinary
Zimbabweans be given a minimum of two months to fully grasp provisions of
the draft constitution, which it described as “a selfish document by
politicians”, before making a choice in the referendum.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku told a press conference in Harare on
Tuesday that the draft constitution retained all the powers of the
president, giving away the “people’s power permanently”.
This was after Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora gave notice to move a
motion in the House of Assembly to adopt the report on the progress and
outcome of the constitution-making process and the draft constitution this
“The NCA calls upon the inclusive government to ensure that the referendum
is credible and that the people be afforded a free and fair framework to
exercise their choice over the matter,” said Madhuku.
“Our lawyers have been instructed to make an urgent challenge in the Supreme
Court should a shorter period be given.”
He demanded provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) be
suspended to allow for campaign meetings saying the NCA reserves its right
to campaign without being restricted by Posa should its demands be rejected.
“It’s not about what people wanted or said but about the selfish and
personal interests of politicians. We need a constitution that would survive
the test of time and not a deal for current politicians.
Politicians spent four years and squandered over US$50 million to produce a
constitution for themselves. If people say “yes” to a constitution being
imposed by political parties, they will be giving away their power
permanently and politicians will never respect the people and the country
will not develop,” he said.
Madhuku said the constitution gives too much power to the president who will
be head of state with unlimited power, head of government and
commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
The president appoints all ministers and deputy ministers without the
approval of parliament, and there is no limit on the number that can be
“The president alone constitutes the cabinet (Sec 105). The statement in the
draft constitution saying the president exercises executive authority
‘through cabinet’ has no value because the cabinet is the president’s baby.
All cabinet ministers are hired and fired by the president at his/her
pleasure. The president is allowed to appoint up to three ministers from
outside parliament. This is bringing back appointed non-constituency MPs
Madhuku said the president still appoints all ambassadors without consulting
anybody and has the final say over the appointment of all permanent
secretaries (Sec 205).
The NCA also said the president had the final say over the appointment of
all judges (Section 180) and though there is provision for interviews, the
president has power to refuse to appoint any of those recommended.
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