8 November 2012

Zimbabwe: New Constitution - Mugabe 'Will Comply'

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

Cape Town — A leading figure in the development of a new Zimbabwean constitution says Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party will resist strongly any attempt by President Robert Mugabe to hijack the constitution-making process.

Douglas Mwonzora, Constitution Select Committee co-chairperson and spokesman for the Tsvangirai's wing of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), was speaking in Cape Town this week at a meeting organised by the Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe, an umbrella grouping of Zimbabwean civil society organisations, and the University of the Western Cape.

Mwonzora said that Mugabe did not have "much of a role to play" in the constitution-making process as it was "a parliamentary process".

He said that the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) was driving the process through parliament. Now that it had been scrutinised at the second "All Stakeholders Conference", the draft constitution was due to be taken to parliament and then finally to a referendum – according to Article Six of the Global Political Agreement which determines the process.

Mwonzora said that President Mugabe had no option but to comply. If he failed to do so, the MDC-T "will do something under the guidance of the Southern African Development Community". Mwonzora did not specify what action his party would take.

Mwonzora insisted the the Zanu-PF leader had no option but to adhere to the dictates of the Global Political Agreement. Quoting Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Mwonzora said, "there is no prescribed method of struggle, every method will depend on the circumstances that exist at that time. Mugabe will comply".

Opposition groups in Zimbabwe allege that President Mugabe is trying to wrestle control of the constitution-making process from COPAC by claiming that the Government of National Unity principals will have the final say. This has prompted fears that such a move may be another attempt to smuggle in Zanu-PF's amendments, which were rejected earlier by both MDC formations.

The meeting was attended by MDC-T, MDC-N, as well as civil society groups from South Africa and Zimbabwe. Zanu-PF was invited, but did not attend.

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