Vote ‘Yes’: Tsvangirai
HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday launched a “Yes” vote for the draft constitution in Harare, declaring talks with President Robert Mugabe are dead.
Tsvangirai, who was addressing his MDC structures at the Harare Showgrounds in the capital, said he will not be drawn into any further negotiations on the draft authored by the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) which is being rejected by Mugabe’s Zanu PF.
Zanu PF has rejected the draft constitution and has brought new proposals which it says should be dealt with by the three Principals namely Tsvangirai, Mugabe and MDC faction leader, Welshman Ncube.
“On Monday, when I meet with President Mugabe I will say uku takatopfuura nako handeyi mberi (I will tell Mugabe that we are past the negotiating phase let us go forward). What is left is for the Speaker of Parliament to announce the dates for a Second All-Stakeholders Conference,” said Tsvangirai.
Section VI of the power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA), the founding accord of the shaky fragile coalition government, states that a new “people-driven” draft constitution led by a parliamentary body should be taken to a Second All-Stakeholders meeting that involves all political parties and civic organisations before it is taken to a referendum.
The GPA acknowledges: “The fundamental right and duty of the Zimbabwean people to make a constitution by themselves and for themselves” and “that the process of making this constitution must be owned and driven by the people and must be inclusive and democratic”.
However, Zanu PF, which has made wholesome changes that partners in the coalition have described as “crazy” insists that Principals still have a role to play in the parliamentary driven process.
Tsvangirai, who has been in an uneasy coalition with Mugabe for three years now, yesterday made it clear that the will of the people should precede party and personal interests.
“The constitution is not written for individuals. It is for the future. Let Mugabe and Zanu PF understand that this constitution has nothing to do with people but the future of the country,” said Tsvangirai.
The MDC leader, who has a love-hate relationship with Mugabe, said his fellow Principal could not lean on him into tinkering with people’s views since Zanu PF was part of the negotiating process from day one.
Mugabe is in a tight spot as he tries to pander to the whims of the warring factions in his party.
Hardliners in the party reportedly sponsored the Zanu PF draft, putting Mugabe in a corner.
“What has happened now is that they are going back. Patrick Chinamasa (Justice minister and Zanu PF chief negotiator) was there during the process, even Mugabe was there. The negotiations took place, let the people determine the destiny of this country.
“I will not be drawn into negotiations ipapo ndinenge ndisipo (I will not be part of that) because the people of Zimbabwe have the final say,” said Tsvangirai, to cheers from his supporters.
“If you don’t want the draft campaign for a “No” and we will see who will lose,” said Tsvangirai.
Zanu PF, in power since 1980, has made alterations to the Copac draft restoring the imperial presidential powers, curtailing civilian liberties as well as leaving the security sector to the president as opposed to the Copac draft which limited the powers of the president and provided wide ranging rights to citizens.
A new constitution is widely regarded as key to future political stability.
“We are preparing for elections and the constitution is going to promote and protect the vote and will of the people. This is the last mile,” said Tsvangirai.
Casually turning to his controversial wedding set for later this month that now hangs in the balance after his ex-lover Locadia Karimatsenga filed an urgent court application to stop the nuptials pencilled for Saturday, Tsvangirai only sang, “Tungamira tonosangana ikoko (we will meet at the wedding).