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NCA Press Statement on constitution

NCA Press Statement

Remaining on the path of a genuine people driven constitution

This statement wishes to re-affirm the position of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) vis-à-vis the current attempts by the government of Zimbabwe to impose a constitution on the people. The NCA rejects the current Parliament-driven process. 

The NCA has both individual and institutional members. Unlike individual members, institutional members are not automatically bound by every decision taken by the NCA. Some decisions require ratification by the institutional members concerned. This brings us to the principled position taken by the two biggest institutional members of the NCA: the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU).

The NCA wishes to commend the ZCTU and ZINASU for this adherence to the founding principles of the NCA, namely that a constitution is by, and for, the people. A parliament-driven process offends this principle. Their outright rejection of the current Parliament-driven process sets an appropriate example to the broader NCA membership and the public. 

While it is not our intention to dwell on the obvious defects of the current process, events of the last few weeks, including the calamitous episodes at the Rainbow Towers on 13 and 14 July 2009, demonstrates that the current Parliament-led process is neither people-driven nor legitimate. It also lacks seriousness. For example:

  • The Government Press has circulated the so-called Kariba Draft. No other Draft has been circulated. President Mugabe has been unequivocal in narrowing the current process to the Kariba Draft. Protestations to the contrary by the other key players have been vague, inconsistent and unconvincing.
  • The Parliament Select Committee is a laughable outfit. It has told no single truth and enjoys being a front for its principals while treating ordinary people as irrelevant.
  • Every step in the Parliament-led process has been taken over by party politics. Dates of meetings have fallen victim to political party considerations. Participants for meetings are selected along political party lines. Political parties dictate consultations at meetings.
  • The Rainbow Towers gathering of 13 and 14 July 2009 cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be described as an “All Stakeholders Conference”. It took the organizers one and half days to open the meeting. When if finally opened it lasted for less than four hours. It started in order to end. It had a different agenda from that specified in the GPA. The meeting made no single discussion. The allocation of sizes of delegations was arbitrary and ridiculous. Non-existent organizations were allocated more participants than existing organizations. 

These defects have solidified the NCA’s conviction that this process is designed to serve the interests of political parties involved and has no chance of producing a democratic and people-driven constitution. 

Given the NCA’s mandate, it is inevitable that the public expects it to continue to hold the light that leads to a new, democratic and people-driven constitution. In 1999, when the government of the day instituted a defective constitution-making process, the NCA convened the 1st Peoples’ Constitutional Convention in June of that year. That Convention provided a platform for Zimbabweans who were genuinely committed to a people-driven constitution, to map an appropriate response to a defective government process. The strategies formulated at that Convention guided the NCA in stopping the imposition of the 2000 Draft. 

We hereby announce that the NCA, with the special support of the ZCTU and ZINASU, will convene the 2nd Peoples’ constitutional Convention on Monday 27 July 2009. It will be held as a follow-up to the 1st Peoples’ Convention of June 1999. The specific objective of this Convention is to adopt positions and programmes of action in the light of current attempts by politicians to undermine our struggle for a genuine people-driven constitution. 

It will be a one-day Convention of 3500 delegates. This is a Convention of like-minded Zimbabweans with the following deep convictions:

Ø  That the constitution making process must not be led by politicians.

Ø  That a democratic and sustainable constitution can only come from a genuine people-driven process and not from a fraudulent Parliament-driven process.

Ø  That Zimbabwe cannot afford a constitution designed solely to accommodate the interests of current political leaders.

Ø  That we have suffered enough by “worshipping” popular politicians of the day.

Ø  That the current Parliament-driven process is unacceptable. 

Our agenda is to get a genuine process that will give our country a democratic constitution. At the Convention, we will launch our campaign under the banner of TAKE CHARGE and thereafter take it to all people in the country. 

Thank you