After weeks of dithering, Zanu PF on Thursday finally made its position clear that it wants to rewrite the draft constitution produced by Copac last month.
Copac is made up of the three parties in the inclusive government who spent over three years negotiating the draft constitution that will replace the Lancaster House Constitution already amended 19 times.
Initially the Zanu PF politburo had indicated that it had endorsed 97% of the draft after most of its members felt the country had invested too much in the process to justify throwing away the baby with the bath water.
But it later turned out that the position did not receive the endorsement of elements in Zanu PF who have sworn that the draft constitution will not see the light of day. Their gripe is that the Copac document whittles down presidential powers and they see it as a way of ensuring that President Robert Mugabe loses the next elections.
The Zanu PF hardliners, represented by Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo and former and serving security chiefs, are only interested in protecting their interests at the expense of Zimbabweans who have suffered from the long-running political stalemate.
Mugabe has also allowed the circus to go on because he stands to benefit from the confusion. It is clear that Zanu PF is not incapable of thriving in a normal environment.
The party chose to ignore the advice of its experts such as Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, who have worked with Copac from its inception, and opted instead to listen to those who have an obvious agenda to collapse the process.
If Zanu PF had genuine concerns it would have taken them to the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference where there is room to perfect the draft. After that conference, the document would be taken to Parliament and subjected to further scrutiny.
Zanu PF has enough representation in the House to articulate its position on the new constitution and push through its amendments if they are genuine.
What is clear is that the anti-reform elements in the party want to collapse the process so that we go to the next elections using the same instruments that made the sham June 27, 2008 presidential runoff poll possible.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said as much when he told NewsDay that: “If they (MDC formations) want a new constitution, they should be willing to engage. Otherwise we will have no option than to go back to the Lancaster House Constitution.”
Anyone who knows Zimbabwe’s political landscape would know a constitution is impossible to produce without a compromise in the environment. Even the parties in the inclusive government hardly agree on anything and for Zanu PF to pretend that it can impose its views is insecurity at its worst.
The position the politburo took to rewrite the draft constitution is very counter-productive and threatens to reverse all the gains made since Mugabe decided to swallow his pride and form an inclusive government in 2009. NewsDay
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