Let MPs debate constitution

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe today officially opens the fifth session of the Seventh Zimbabwe Parliament after an inexplicable and inordinate delay.

Mugabe’s opening of Parliament comes barely a week after his unsolicited declaration at the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference that the legislature is not “sovereign and cannot dictate the actions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) Principals.”

We think this was an unwarranted assault on this very important pillar of democracy by the executive and all progressive Zimbabweans should frown at such dictatorial tendencies by a leader whose sunset is beckoning.

Does this mean the executive is sovereign? At least we have been let in on a secret and Zimbabweans should never say we were not advised. Mugabe is telling us that he has given himself power to override other arms of the state.

Unfortunately, he now wants to drag in his GPA partners in his insatiable appetite for power and extend his dictatorial stranglehold on the levers of power.

The new draft constitution crafted by a committee of Parliament popularly known as Copac has accorded wide ranging powers to the legislative assembly to oversee the functions and curtail the excesses of those in power.

These are some of the clauses that have riled those that believe in a one man show type of governance.

They believe we should trust mortals with imperial powers in a democracy.

Zimbabweans should rally behind Copac in pushing for the adoption of this constitutional draft.

The last session of Parliament only passed three bills and in the coming session, parliamentarians will have their hands full debating the new draft constitution.

Our plea to Mugabe and his partners is please let the MPs debate the people’s constitution.

If the draft charter is adopted at a referendum, then Parliament will be required to align most of the country’s laws in accordance with the new constitution and the executive should not throw spanners in their work.

The GPA is explicit in that the constitution-making process is a Parliament-driven process and now Mugabe wants to hijack it.

We take solace in that his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has promised not to temper with the people’s wishes.

“I am not going to be party to a trio that will usurp the people’s power by re-writing the draft,” Tsvangirai is quoted as having said.

We hope he sticks to this and hold Mugabe to the dictum of separation of powers. - Staff Writer

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