Minister says MDC parties imprisoned in 'unity' govt

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are so scared of a democratic society that they will do anything to strangle any such process, a member of the shaky coalition government has said.

Zimbabwe’s constitution-making process is currently in limbo after Zanu PF made a volte face on a draft it had initially signed to.

Deputy minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Jessie Majome told a Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) discussion at the Harare Press Club last week that the two MDCs in the coalition government were shackled with an unwilling partner.

“Zanu PF is afraid of a just and equal society. Every milestone along the Copac and Global Political Agreement process is to them a subtraction of their stranglehold on power that has been inbuilt since 1980,”she said. “They have tried everything from gross unreasonableness,violence, confusion and are now doing everything to upturn or overturn and detonate  the process,” Majome said.

She said the two MDCs that went into a coalition arrangement with Zanu PF found themselves in a prisoner’s scenario in which they are shackled with an unwilling or mischievous colleague.

“It is like a situation in which because of shortage of leg irons, prisoners find themselves chained together with a fellow who wants to go to the toilet. They all have to go and if he/she wants to run they should all run and the same if the fellow stops or slows down."

“Zanu PF is using the consensus clause effectively because they are very much aware the process will not move without the partners agreeing. I would never believe that Mugabe and even his politburo members were not aware of the process and did not know the stages as we moved along. It is total mischief,” she said.

Majome said Zanu PF’s behaviour had effectively stalled the constitution making process at a very critical stage.

“We were at a very critical stage at which we needed to distribute our document to the people so they will be aware and be able to critic the draft at the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference but everything has stopped.

“Mugabe and Zanu PF have mischievously gone ahead and started to distribute their so-called Copac amended draft. They are so arrogant to the extent they are abusing the name Copac to their advantage. It is a total disdain for Parliament and its committees,” the MDC secretary for constitutional affairs said.

Zanu PF negotiator and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was invited to the Misa public seminar but could not attend.

Crisis Coalition regional coordinator Dewa Mavhinga called for improved leadership within civil society to challenge Zanu PF’s intransigence.

“Power response to power and we have not done enough besides quarrelling as civil society to respond to Zanu PF’s challenge. Constitutions the world over are a product of blood, sweat and tears and if Zimbabwe is to have a genuinely democratic charter there should be some kind of mobilisation,” Mavhinga said.

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