4 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Faces Revolt

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

MPs are plotting to resist his plans to take over the final stages of the constitution-making exercise, authoritative sources told The Standard yesterday.

Mugabe has not made it a secret that he wishes the executive to take over the Copac exercise, with the principals having the final say.

Legislators from both MDC formations last week made it clear that they would not accept the principals imposing themselves on the draft, as they found rare common ground.

Parliamentarians from the two parties held several meetings before the opening of parliament last Tuesday, with insiders revealing that they wanted to resist the takeover.

"We held several informal meetings and that is the position we will take as both parties," a legislator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

The legislator said a statement from both parties will be made soon on the parties' positions.

MDC-T parliamentary chief whip Innocent Gonese seemed to confirm this position, maintaining that they were guided by Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which states that the constitution-writing exercise was a parliamentary process.

"Our position is that it is a parliamentary process and we report only to parliament," he said.

"The Executive is represented in the management committee. They represent the principals."

At the Second all-stakeholders' conference held a fortnight ago, Mugabe said parliamentarians got their power from the principals and they gave direction to Copac.

Gonese, however, hit back saying parliamentarians received their mandate from the people, whereas the principals got their power from the GPA.

"We have a direct mandate from the people. we derive our power from them, whereas the Executive derives its power from the GPA.

"The process should not be circumvented. the principals and the executive can only come in after the referendum. We will not take kindly to interference," he said.

Mugabe has also tried to rope in Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga to take over the Copac process, but this failed.

Recent reports suggest that Mugabe has also approached Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana to have a look at the draft constitution before it goes to Parliament.

MDC parliamentary chief whip Edward Mkhosi's mobile phone went unanswered yesterday.

Party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube on the other hand, praised efforts by parliamentarians to block the takeover, saying this was a progressive move.

"This is a brilliant move, if only some Zanu PF legislators could see the light," he said.

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