Keep pressure on Zimbabwe

HARARE - Regional bloc Sadc has once again convened an extraordinary summit to consider urgent and pressing peace and security matters that threaten the essence of regional cooperation and integration. And once again, Zimbabwe remains on this list.

We applaud Tanzania as the current chair of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, together with South Africa and Namibia, for keeping focus on Zimbabwe.

While the Troika considered the crisis in the eastern part of the DRC and the situation in Madagascar, South Africa reported to the summit on the facilitation process in Zimbabwe.

And as reported elsewhere in the edition, Sadc has called for political parties in Zimbabwe to conclude the constitution-making process, hold a referendum and implement electoral reforms before the next harmonised elections.

We commend Sadc for keeping its focus on Zimbabwe and calling “for responsive political will” from the political leaders in regard to implementation of democratic reforms as the way towards a peaceful, free and fair election next year.

The two MDCs have submitted to the facilitation team that there is a deadlock in line with a Maputo summit clause which says if you are in disagreement, call the chairperson of the Troika. And it seems the latest deadlock is on issues of process.

From a cursory look at the content, it is clear Zimbabwean parties have been unable to reach consensus.

While Zanu PF has equivocated over the past month on the Copac draft, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC faction leader Welshman Ncube have embraced the new constitution early and have passionately urged Zimbabweans to focus on the future of their nation.

We urge Sadc to maintain its stance, and we cannot countenance any further amendments to the Copac draft.

 Zanu PF has been shifting goalposts, reneging on agreements already made. While members of Zanu PF in the Copac management committee signed the draft on July 18, more Zanu PF lawmakers approved the new draft constitution on August 19, 2012 under the ambit of the 25-member tripartite select committee even as the politburo mounted spirited remonstrations against the draft, reflecting divisions in the party.

The draft can no longer be amended. Zanu PF’s demands for the reinstatement of enormous powers in the presidency that had been curtailed under the Copac draft, and 25 other fundamental changes to the draft, including deleting extensive reforms aimed at improving governance and entrenching basic rights, are simply unacceptable.

It is imperative that President Jacob Zuma breaks this deadlock over a new constitution.

Outside the Sadc mediation, Zanu PF is threatening to ditch the Copac draft and go for fresh polls under the old constitutional order.

That prospect is just too ghastly to contemplate. - Staff Writer

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