The selling-out by MDCs yet to be told
RECENTLY, I was debating with Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana over the legitimacy of the “Yes” vote in the just-held referendum. His argument was that Zimbabweans did well by grabbing the opportunity presented to them and voted in favour of the document as this process had taken a lot of time and money. He went on to argue that there is no constitution that can best meet the term “people-driven” citing that even the American constitution was written by less than five people and yet it is ranked as one of the best constitutions in the world. To him, the fact that only a “handful” of people were consulted during the scandalous outreach programme, made the constitution “very” people-driven.
While there might be a grain of truth in his argument, I reminded him that the United States of America and Zimbabwe are totally different countries at different socio-economic and political development stages, hence it is difficult to compare the two. As far as Mangwana’s duty as a citizen is concerned, he thinks that his job was well done since he claims that he delivered the constitution 33 years years after independence.
He wrongfully thinks history will absolve him for delivering such a careless, selfish and disastrous constitution to the people of Zimbabwe. I argued and told him that constitutions across the world are based on the country’s history, hence the reason the Lancaster Constitution was amended so many times because it fell short in addressing arising issues. I later on jokingly told him that if there was anywhere in the world where constitutions should not provide for an executive president, then it’s in Africa — the place where power is abused by incumbent presidents who unleash terror and mayhem against opponents.
The idiots of the 21st century are not those who oppose and question undemocratic decisions taken by politicians, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn from history.
There are those who herd people like cattle into terrains where the grass will not be greener for the future generations. The question should be: Is the next generation going to be proud of decisions that we make today? History in Africa has taught us that if too much power is given to one person, where he is the sole appointing authority of all key posts, then there will be untold suffering on all those who dare question or oppose him.
While this writer feels pity for the two MDC formations and some malleable civic society organisations for choosing to support the Copac draft amid widespread disapproval of the draft as an elitist document, they had no clue what the consequences of their decisions meant. For them, no matter the contents of the draft, “progress”, and not the content, was important as long as we do away with the Lancaster Constitution.
They actually were hoodwinked into believing that Zanu PF was sincere in calling for unity and peace and the need to “move” the country forward by voting “Yes”. Little did they know that they were wrong. In the end, Zanu PF managed to achieve what they had always wanted — writing a constitution that protects their interests.
While those who were campaigning for a “No” vote were harangued and called all sorts of names and labelled retrogressive elements, events that began unfolding soon after the referendum have led many people realise that the “Yes” vote was not about progress and moving the country forward. But it was about settling a political score.
Before the ink on the ballot papers had dried, a top human rights defender, Beatrice Mtetwa, was arrested under unclear and malicious circumstances. As if that was not enough, Honourable Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s staff was arrested. More arrests followed. The Prime Minister even tried to get them released, but to no avail. What does this demonstrate to the people of Zimbabwe?
At one point I used to believe that Tsvangirai was the man who had felt the pulse of the people of Zimbabwe, but when he endorsed such a draconian draft by whipping his supporters to support such a flawed document that creates an all-powerful President, my mind changed. He went on to tell the electorate that the Copac draft would clip executive power. Where? How?
I thought that most civic society groups who have witnessed unparalleled attack, imprisonment, killing and clampdown on their activities were going to at least question the issue of the Attorney-General who — just like in the Lancaster Constitution — is appointed by the President. We have seen unwarranted arrests even after courts clear and order people to be released, but still many continue to be detained. On this subject of Attorney-General, there was surreal silence on who should appoint him from civic organisations. The evil agenda of the Attorney-General’s Office against civic organisations is conspicuous to any functioning mind.
Otherwise the selling-out by some civic society groups and the two MDCs in the inclusive government is a story yet to be told and it shall be told in the same way as the sun shall rise tomorrow.
lRawlings Standgun Magede is a rural political enthusiast who writes from Nkayi, Matabeleland North province. firstname.lastname@example.org
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