By Lance Guma
Both MDC formations in the coalition government have rejected outright amendments to the draft constitution being proposed by ZANU PF.
Despite putting their signature to a draft constitution agreed to by negotiators from all three parties in the Constitutional Select Committee (COPAC), the ZANU PF politburo carried out its own ‘audit’ and is now seeking to amend the draft.
According to Justice Minister and ZANU PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa the proposed amendments by his party seek to clarify the ‘grey areas’ left by the COPAC management committee.
“Some of the amendments touch on dual citizenship, death penalty, role of the youths and their rights and empowerment issues for our people. During the outreach, what came out very clearly was the public’s abhorrence of same-sex marriages, thus the proposed amendments bring out to the fore that clear message from the outreach programme. There is also further clarification around the issue of succession, court structure, the Attorney-General and decentralisation,” he said.
The leader of the smaller MDC faction, Welshman Ncube, says he met Mugabe on Tuesday and was given a copy of the amended draft. “I have now studied the amendments ZANU PF has made to the draft and I am astonished at the sheer scale of disrespect, contempt, insult and audacity exhibited by the amendments.”
Ncube said he could only think of three scenarios to explain the amended draft; either it was ZANU PF thinking they were “so desperate for a new constitution that we will cling to a serpent, or that we are stupid, or that their strategy is to make such preposterous amendments that no sane party will accept so as to collapse the whole process with a view to maintaining the status quo.”
Ncube said it was clear, “ZANU PF hawks are itching for an early election and this move they have made has brought them very close to their wish to burn down the country by having a rerun of the 2008 elections.” He proceeded to say “It’s time to let the dice roll the way it will. If an election without a new constitution is the only way to move forward, then let it be.”
Education Minister Senator David Coltart, also from Ncube’s MDC, took to social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to say: “The proposed amendments to the constitution now provided to us are ridiculous. Perhaps the real name of this party has always been ZANY PF.”
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti weighed in, saying the proposed amendments were an insult to Zimbabweans.
“I cannot believe that a group of men and women — many of whom fought in our war of liberation — can assault and insult the ideas of decency, equality, justice and democracy that all modern societies should be founded upon,” he said.
“That they can unashamedly insult Zimbabweans this way is a case for allowing Zimbabweans to vote on the two drafts in a referendum so that we can go to an early election to deal with this aberration.”
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T spokesperson, told journalists the party could retreat to its original position of the draft if Zanu PF insisted on its amendments.
“We will also demand some of the issues that we had dropped as a compromise solution such as the amendment of Clause 6.4.2 which demanded that a President who had already run for 10 years could no longer participate in an election,” he said.
“We will also demand that the age limit of 70 years be brought back. There will be a proliferation of documents if Zanu PF insists on its amendments.”
Last week Mwonzora said: “The draft constitution that we have is not a product of the MDC alone but a result of two key processes that ZANU PF participated in – the outreach process and the negotiation. In both instances, ZANU PF was equally and ably represented by people with a requisite mandate.”
“We cannot possibly re-subject the draft to further negotiation. As far as we are concerned, it is decision time for Zimbabweans, including those that support ZANU PF, on whether what we have is a good or bad draft,” Mwonzora said. SW Radio Africa
Outrageous Mugabe demands
Removed devolution entirely from the draft and deleted all references to devolution
Removed the Peace and Reconciliation Commission
Removed all indigenous languages from being official languages
Introduced mandatory National Youth Service
Removed the open, transparent and public interview process for the appointment of judges and replaced it with a Presidential appointment systemplaces including by deleting all references to democratic society
Done away with a separate Constitutional Court and reverted to the status quo in terms of which the Supreme Court doubles up as a Constitutional Court
Banned dual citizenship for those who are Zimbabwean citizens by descent or registration
Mutilated the Bill of Rights in many places by deleting all references to democratic society
Redefined agricultural land to include any land used for poultry so that they would be able to take any building used to rear chickens
Taken out the Presidential running mate provisions and replaced them with the current system with the new provision that in the event of the office becoming vacant, the replacement will be chosen by the party to which the President belonged
Reposed all executive authority in the President by deleting the provision which vested it in the President and Cabinet
Reconstituted the imperial Presidency by restoring virtually all the current Presidential powers and even added the new provision that Cabinet can only exercise authority under the direction of the President
Restored the current Presidential immunity provisions
Restored the Presidential power to declare war without any restraint or constraint
Made all State institutions subject to the obligation to promote and defend the values of the liberation struggle
Stripped the Speaker of the National Assembly of all administrative powers and vested these in the Clerk of Parliament
Increased the composition of Senate by four
Introduced unfettered powers of the President to dissolve Parliament at his or her whim
Put one Chief into the Judicial Service Commission
Removed provisions limiting permanent secretaries to two five-year terms
Taken out the provisions requiring a law regulate the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and requiring the CIO to be non-partisan, professional and national in character
Inserted provisions which require independent commissions and the judiciary as well to promote and to be guided by the ideals and values of the liberation struggle
Reintroduced the useless and failed Office of Public Protector
Removed the democratic provisions for the appointment of the Anti-Corruption Commission
Deleted the provisions establishing an independent prosecuting authority and re-established the present political office of Attorney-General.
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