Zanu PF's constitution bargain

HARARE - Officials from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF are offering coalition partners a “bargain” to break the deadlock over a new constitution.

Zanu PF says the parties must conduct an audit of a draft negotiated by the three parties under the auspices of a parliamentary body known as Copac against views expressed by Zimbabweans during Copac’s four months of public hearings.

Thirty nine months since work began on this highly ambitious project that has gobbled over $45 million, the endgame was supposed to start on Monday when President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube were supposed to meet over the amendments brought by the Zanu PF politburo.

But the meeting was rescheduled because Tsvangirai was away in the United States.

Mugabe handed copies of Zanu PF amendments to Tsvangirai and Ncube after the Cabinet meeting on August 21.

Both MDCs rejected the Zanu PF document and the idea of further negotiations on the Copac draft outright.

The key to unlocking the deadlock, Zanu PF says, is to look at the national report compiled by Copac containing views gleaned during countrywide public hearings in 2010 and compare it with the July 18 Copac draft.

Zanu PF politburo member and serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo said the only key to unlocking the deadlock was an audit of the Copac draft against the national report.

“What you see is a succession of improvements of drafts, January (preliminary) draft improved in April by the Copac co-chairpersons, improved in July by the management committee and improved in August by Zanu PF,” Moyo said.

“The other parties in the arrangement got the same opportunity as Zanu PF to amend the July 18 Copac draft. They met as parties and decided to endorse the draft. They did not feel that they had capacity to improve the draft even though they both found the draft of July 18 to be imperfect, problematic and even sloppy."

"We found it the same and we took it upon ourselves as a responsible party to improve it mainly — and this is very important to understand — because the July 18 draft prepared by the management committee systematically excludes virtually all of the fundamental issues raised by the people of Zimbabwe during the Copac outreach programmme.

“Those views are contained in a Copac national report which has not been published by Copac. So we amended it exercising our responsibility in the GPA in order to align it with the views of the people. There is no single amendment that has been done by Zanu PF that does not reflect the national report or the views of the people. This is really what has not been understood.”

Moyo said the two MDCs wanted a transitional constitution.

“Our colleagues feel that they should come up with a transitional constitution only for purposes of the next election. We fundamentally disagree with that,” Moyo said.

“A constitution is not an election handbook and is certainly not an election manifesto.”

The MDC teams have referred the deadlock to President Jacob Zuma as the Sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwean crisis and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete as chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

But Moyo said Zanu PF will not take dictation from regional bloc Sadc in the stalemate.

“Our colleagues feel that Sadc should impose its will on the people of Zimbabwe and dictate a constitution to us, again we fundamentally disagree,” Moyo said.

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