Sokwanele (Harare)

9 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Constitutional Draft Content Victory 'Sweets' Cannot Be Stolen From Our Mouths

Photo: Buanews
File photo: President Jacob Zuma, center, with President Robert Mugabe, right, on a previous working visit to Zimbabwe.

opinion

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members express concern the once again the word 'election' dominates the political rhetoric and that the Copac draft has once again become hostage to political posturing and egos. WOZA call for the immediate resumption of Constitutional reform processes leading to the second all stakeholders' conference and the setting of a date for the referendum.

WOZA members provided their leadership with a mandate to begin a vote 'yes' campaign if their main requirements were included in the draft. Members also provided a mandate to conduct a boycott campaign for any elections conducted without significant reforms in place.

In June 2012 WOZA members were consultation on political and constitutional developments. Members estimated that they had lost confidence and trust in the MDC. Some members measured their level of trust at 45%. A result confirmed by recent Freedom House and MPOI surveys. Both MDC parties in the government, political analysts and academics must realise that there were no 'undecided' people, no people 'fearful' of disclosing their support in this sample. The people in the WOZA consultation were ordinary women - brave and blunt and giving the opposition a 45% trust rating.

As the MDCT launch their 'YES' campaign, they must be warned that WOZA is watching and listening. WOZA challenge the MDCT and MDC to push for additional reforms on the age limit for presidential candidates and further reduction of presidential powers. Additionally WOZA suggest the removal of the word 'unitary' in the preamble which describing the state and insertion of the word 'devolved'. Zimbabweans were clear that they no longer want a highly centralised unitary state.

Members also warned about the tendency of President Robert Mugabe to back track on agreements and this too has come to pass with ZANU PF refusing to respect their own signatures on the Copac draft and have practically rewritten their own draft. Once again ZANU PF pretends national interest whilst telling blatant lies.

WOZA members see their views in the draft and will not allow ZANU PF to misrepresent our views. WOZA have campaigned tirelessly for reforms and the victory 'sweets' cannot be stolen from our mouths.

The 'victory sweets' are represented by this content in the Copac draft.

Free education and adult basic education.

Gender equality specified in many sections and the removal of restrictions by traditional culture.

President, cabinet, ministry permanent secretaries and all commissioners limited to two five year terms limit.

A devolved system of government with some forms of elected officials and specified resource control.

A more transparent sharing of power with the presidential running mates system.

We have proportional representation which does bring a more democratically implemented.

We got more democratic electoral systems and a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with extended powers.

Total abolishment of the Death penalty for women.

Most political leaders in legislature, civic servants, security sector must no longer involve themselves in politics or be impartial.

A National Peace Commission that will deal with transitional justice issues.

A National Prosecuting Authority and reduced power for the Attorney General.

An independent complaints commission so we can hold security sector accountable.

An expanded bill of rights, including social, economic, political and cultural rights.

The right to demonstrate and petition and rights to liberty more clearly defined.

A non-discrimination clause and 16 official languages.

Domestication of international instruments to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

A Constitutional and Electoral Court.

WOZA demand the immediate finalisation of second all stakeholders' conference dates. A transparent and accountable system to call for the second all stakeholders conference participation of all sectors of society and provision for inclusion of stakeholder input.

Members are also unhappy with the manner in which the Zimbabwe Republic Police continue to disrupt organisation activities and letters of complaint delivered to the police and to the Joint Operating and Monitoring Committee (Jomic) remain ignored.

We demand that cabinet summon the Police Commissioner and instruct him to allow full and unfettered peaceful meetings and protests as an advance of section 4:24. This section is necessary part of the referendum preparation phase civic awareness work. If he is not prepared to allow citizens this space then we call for his immediate dismissal.

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