Let's move on from here

HARARE - It is not every time that people get to write a constitution.

Zimbabweans were yesterday presented with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to craft the country’s Supreme Law and posterity might judge this generation on this more than anything else since independence.

Yesterday’s constitutional referendum —  though largely peaceful — was marred by the unsavoury violent events in Mbare on Friday when the deadly Zanu PF-aligned group, Chipangano brutally pounced on MDC supporters.

We are of the firm belief that this was a golden chance for the country and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to spruce up their images, battered by past failures to properly run elections.

In electoral terms, Zec remains very central to how this country emerges from the rut this country has found itself in and the political and economic turmoil that the people of Zimbabwe have had to endure for over a decade.

A credible constitutional poll and a speedy release of results might go a long way in allaying fears of a restive population that has been in electoral mood for many years.

With harmonised elections set to be the most closely fought since the dawn of majority rule 33 years ago, Zec will need to get its act together.

That the government found it suitable to swear in new chairperson Justice Rita Makarau a few hours before polls opened, boggles the mind and does not inspire much confidence.

But we still hope that Makarau will be more professional and lead the nation to credible polls.

Some have argued that there is not much difference between the discredited Lancaster House constitution and the Copac draft while others believe the new draft is a giant leap forward for the country.

Yesterday’s referendum will settle that debate but the important issue is that Zimbabwe will have a better Constitution if they voted “Yes”.

Our political leaders need to stop speaking with forked tongues. We need to stop indicating left while turning right.

Zimbabwe needs a constitution which is adhered to and respected by our leaders otherwise it will be a useless document.

And we have at the very least three months to sort things out and make sure the scourge of the likes of Chipangano is toppled and that citizens across the country exercise their rights without coercion.

After all is said and done, for all their faults, the country’s political leadership presented citizens with a chance to rewrite history and chart the country’s future. - Staff Writer

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