Draft derails govt planning – Biti
HARARE – Finance minister Tendai Biti says Zanu PF’s rejection of a draft constitution authored jointly by coalition partners has put government planning into disarray.
In an interview with the Daily News, Biti said he had set aside cash for a constitutional referendum in his Mid-Term Budget Statement but the about-turn made by Zanu PF rejecting the draft made it “impossible” to plan.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has effected wholesome changes to the draft, crafted under the auspices of a cross-party parliamentary body known as Copac, resulting in a deadlock that now requires Sadc intervention.
Biti said the deadlock leaves him confused.
“As the minister of Finance I would like to say politicians are now confusing us. As far as I appreciate Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), we are supposed to produce a draft and Copac did that. These shenanigans that are now in play have left us confused,” said Biti.
Article 6 of the power-sharing GPA dictates that coalition partners draft a constitution that should be put to Zimbabweans in a referendum. The new constitution is viewed as a key foundation to future stability. The referendum had been tentatively set for October but is off the rails because of Zanu PF’s position.
Zanu PF says the draft, despite having been approved by its negotiators, is a “sell-out” document aimed at regime change.
Biti said Mugabe’s party was hallucinating.
“If the contention is that the draft is not a reflection of the people’s will then the people themselves will reject it in a referendum. No party should impose the veto power or be the spokesperson of the people. Who is Zanu PF to speak for the people?” asked Biti.