Constitutional reform breakdown will affect Zanu PF more
The escalating comedy and confusion around the new constitution as exacerbated by ZANU PF’s intransigence is symbolic of the party’s inability or unwillingness to transform from a liberation movement to a democratic party.
This is a monumental tragedy, maybe only second to dismal failure at succession planning. If they had accepted that liberation wars come and go but nations remain, they would have written a new constitution by now. Despite being in power for twice as long as they were in the bush, there is very little to show for it.
Welshman Ncube, former Secretary-General of the united MDC, an iconic lawyer and genuine professor, despite his shortcomings in 2005 which may have regrettably contributed to the split of the MDC, is probably one of those most informed politicians when it comes to constitutional matters.
Like Mwonzora and a few others, the flamboyant professor usually tackles facts as they are which facts are often disregarded by hooligans and thugs who have hijacked ZANU PF for nothing but self-aggrandisement.
Unless they have ordered him to shut up, ZANU PF should be wondering why all of a sudden, Paul Mangwana, their chief architect in the constitutional dispensation, has just gone quiet. There is something spectacular about lawyers; at some point, they spare time to listen to the inner person in them as guided by their unique training.
Of course, Patrick Chinamasa might be an exception given that he worries more about his next meal than anything else.
His latest about-face in the constitutional drama is reminiscent of his dazzling u-turn soon after the Dinyane debacle where he was the only senior ZANU PF attendee who “got away with murder” after he went down on his knees, literally, to convince Gushungo that he had been duped.
As usual, shrewd Ngwena played his cards carefully and dispatched his gullible protégés such as Jonathan Moyo and Chinamasa (shasha dzekupaparika). These hypocrites have come back again!
Back to Welsh, he is right when he says that ZANU PF is treating Zimbabweans as morons or they are simply trying to push for an early election under the old constitution.
He is also right to say that even if elections were held under the old constitution, ZANU PF will still lose unless they resort to their willing “dogs” ready to maul innocent Zimbabweans for a few pieces of silver.
Unfortunately for the dogs, Sadc is seriously shortening the leash to allow for a free and fair election even without a new constitution. The region is understandably exhausted. They just want to see an end to this decade-old lunacy.
If ZANU PF really wanted to write a new constitution, they would have easily done so especially prior to 1999 when they did not have any notable challenge.
The reason why they never did is that they thought they would rule forever therefore the excesses, inadequacies and defects of the Lancaster House document were quite palatable to their insatiable appetite to suppress any dissenting voice.
A classic example is the ability to incarcerate citizens without trial or overturn bail without any repercussions. It would be most unfortunate if this document were allowed to outlive Gushungo’s presidency.
Should ZANU PF succeed in derailing the constitutional process, they will have themselves to blame. Zimbabweans will never forgive them given that in 2000, the same effort failed thanks to a disgraced academic who would do anything to find a safe job back in Zimbabwe after being allegedly involved in damaging scandals in the Diaspora.
Everybody knows that by watering down presidential powers, the new constitution protects us not from President Mugabe but from future leaders. By splitting the Attorney General’s office, we are putting checks and balances in place not against Tomana but for posterity.
By allowing for dual citizenship, we are not doing a favour to the British or Americans but empowering our own people a quarter of them scattered around the globe.
Devolution ensures equal opportunity for all regions unlike a situation where a poor peasant farmer in Chilonga travels to Harare to obtain a relative’s death certificate or a primary school teacher in Binga goes to Harare to correct a simple spelling mistake on a birth certificate.
Provincial governors should also be accountable to local citizens not to the Harare-based president who handpicks them for nothing but sycophancy.
If ZANU PF is confident or naïve enough to think that they have the people behind them in their manipulation of the draft constitution, they are free to put to the referendum as many versions of their draft as they wish. COPAC will present its own draft. Let the nation freely determine its destiny.
Pervasive plundering of national resources which is the epicentre of all this bigotry must not be allowed to stall national progress by another day. ZANU PF must be reminded that should the new constitution fail, it is them that have more to lose.
An extremely powerful post-Mugabe president is the last thing anyone would wish for, given our tainted history. I don’t know why this reality does not strike some of our brothers and sisters.
Moses Chamboko writes from Western Australia and can be contacted at email@example.com