HARARE – The Parliament-led constitutional review process in Zimbabwe is not a perfect process and the draft constitution released is a reflection of that.
It was simply being too optimistic to think that a process led by three political parties would produce a “perfect” constitution.
Yet what we have as a draft is something that can be worked with, at the minimum, to allow society to move on and deal with this matter comprehensively at a later stage.
There is no way that the current draft can be the end all document of a constitution for Zimbabwe, but at some point in future, this matter has to be revisited.
The sad part is that Zanu PF’s shenanigans are now at play once again in the life of the people of Zimbabwe.
The Zanu PF leadership has basically torn to shreds the draft and came up with amendments of its own in a series of long meetings at the party’s headquarters.
If Zanu PF had spent half this time focusing on the interests of the people of Zimbabwe, then we can be sure that this country would not be in this mess.
Zanu PF has basically revised all the key elements of this constitution that represented slight changes to the current document.
This includes the need for balance and equitable sharing of power between the executive and the legislature, an improved bill of rights and the reform of state institutions that have been abused for partisan political ends and these include the police, Intelligence, military and attorney general’s office.
President Robert Mugabe’s executive presidency and the abuse of national state and legal institutions are the pillars of Zanu PF in the present political set up and these need to be whittled down to ensure long term stability and rebuilding of key state institutions.
The abuse of these institutions has often been felt in the area of human rights where we have seen the intelligence, police and military and the AGs office being mobilised to protect and advance the interests of Zanu PF.
Such protection afforded to Zanu PF has overridden the interests of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe and has taken the form of murder, kidnapping, harassment and threats, and abuse of the law to restrict opposition to unpopular Zanu PF’s policies and actions.
It is therefore interesting that while attempting to prop the executive’s unfettered power to control these institutions through its revised draft, Zanu PF is also undermining the human rights protection provisions thereby exposing its true intentions —that is to continue abusing both state power and the citizens of Zimbabwe for political and corrupt ends.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo wrongly stated his party’s revisions represent the views of majority, a falsehood as the party was outvoted in 2008.
Interestingly, Zanu PF only survived in 2008 through its control of state institutions that include all that it is now protecting through its revised draft.
Interestingly again, the victims of repression are citizens who Zanu PF is giving thin protection and sometimes undefined rights as under the current system.
This is the moment that the people of Zimbabwe are being called to resist Zanu PF and its shenanigans.
The discussion on the draft constitution, more so on Zanu PF’s attempts at subverting this process, must remind us that there is a line that should never be crossed in national governance, that is surrendering the people’s will to a small clique.
It is important that the Sadc mediation process be informed by both civil society and other parties that the constitution represents a major step in Zimbabwe’s transition and that there is need to support the process and document that meaningfully changes Zimbabwe not tinkering with a few words.
Citizens of Zimbabwe must equally be made aware on what this means so that informed decisions are taken at a personal level.
In our political odyssey as a society, this part of the struggle represents a chapter we must overcome.