Zanu, democracy do not mix

HARARE - The constitution-making process has been a shambles from beginning to end, if ever it will end with an acceptable document.

From the beginning, the process was chaotic, manipulated and at times, characterised by incidents of violence. The outcome of the imbroglio would, therefore, be questionable.

My view is that as long as Zanu PF is in power, constitutionalism in Zimbabwe means little if not nothing at all. Constitutionalism will only find meaning when Zanu PF is out of power.

Remember the Lancaster House constitution had numerous protections of basic freedoms.

Yet Zimbabwe has one of the worst human rights records.

The fact that Zanu PF has engaged in the constitution-making process does not mean the party has suddenly found its conscience.

This is a process that has come about because of external intervention in the form of the African Union and Sadc.

It is, therefore, not surprising that Zanu PF is resisting democratic changes in the current draft.

It is rather paradoxical that in the process of making a presumably democratic constitution Zanu PF, in fact, violates a tenet of democracy.

Here you have two parties in the coalition “voting” for the draft, making them the majority against Zanu PF.

The idea that principals have to decide may see Arthur Mutambara — who Zanu PF defends as a Principal — upsetting and reversing this democratic outcome.

Zanu PF claims it represents the majority views as contained in the national report.

Given, as I stated earlier, the compromised process of gathering views on the constitution, the national report may not necessarily be reflective of the true opinions of the people.

The fact that the constitution is now decided by the politicians is perhaps a realisation that the whole process of gathering views was unauthentic in the first place.

It remains tragic that, as a result of the tainted process, politicians now have to decide on fundamental provisions of the constitution. But this is where we are.

It takes a huge leap of faith to believe that people in the regions, in particular Matabeleland, would reject the concept of devolution when it is adequately explained to them.

For who, in their right and independent minds, would turn down the opportunity to exercise a significant measure of political power in the management of their welfare, resources and so on?

A constitution that does not incorporate devolution is in all likelihood going to be rejected in these neglected regions.

Devolution is compatible with democracy. In fact, devolution is empowerment — Zanu PF’s own buzzword. It empowers people to influence political decisions of elected officials and public administrators at closer proximity.

Zanu PF cannot deny people this crucial form of empowerment if it truly believes in such cause.

Decentralisation is just a way of retaining the undemocratic status quo of governors appointed by the President; governors who are only accountable to their benefactor and not the people in the impoverished regions.

The purpose should be making a democratic constitution. The resistance to this kind of change only confirms what we have known all along: that Zanu PF and democracy do not mix.

Zanu PF should not look at constitution-making through the narrow prism of its rule, but a constitution for the future.

A constitution that will limit the powers of Morgan Tsvangirai, or any other leader who will rule.

The idea that Zanu PF will rule forever is fallacious.

The antics of Paul Mangwana over the past week have been, to say the least, quite amusing.
Here is a man who described the likes of Jonathan Moyo as “angels of the devil” for their opposition to what he considered a good draft.

Mangwana now disowns the draft. He suggests that he did not sign the draft; he only initialled it.

Now, for a lawyer to try to dissociate himself from a document he approved in one form of writing or another is outrageously insincere.

Mangwana knows if he was defending a client in court, he would not accept such absurd claim.

But on the other hand, you have to feel pity for him. He is a victim of Zanu PF’s bully-boy tactics just as everyone has been.

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