15 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Call to Conduct Elections Under Current Constitution

Photo: IRIN
President Robert Mugabe

POLITICAL observers yesterday said the country should hold elections using the current Constitution if parties in Government cannot agree on the contents of a new constitution.

They said continued bickering on the constitution-making process was holding the country to ransom.

Their call comes at a time when the constitution management committee has reached a deadlock on the way forward. Zanu-PF says where there are disagreements from the Second All-Stakeholders' Conference, the issues should be referred to the principals.

But the MDC formations argue that contentious issues should be taken to Parliament.

"The only solution to this deadlock is for the country to go for elections under the current Constitution and then the new Government can finish off the constitution-making process," said Mr Godwine Mureriwa. "It is known for a fact that Zanu-PF will not allow a regime change project to succeed unless the views expressed by the people during the outreach and at the stakeholders' conference are captured."

Mr Mureriwa said the MDC formations' ploy was to delay the holding of elections by taking the draft to Parliament where legislators would bicker for a long time. "MDC formations dread elections and they want to prolong their stay in Government, but that stay is undemocratic," he said.

Another political analyst Mr Gabriel Chaibva said only the principals had the mandate to determine the course of the constitutional process.

"Now they (management committee) have arrogated themselves to be supreme to an extent of wanting to make decisions circumventing their anointers," he said.

"The problem we have arises because of the agenda of the MDC-T which wants to smuggle foreign norms and decadent foreign cultures that are alien to Zimbabwe. This is done in a desperate attempt to please their masters in America, Britain and Europe at large."

University of Zimbabwe International Relations lecturer Dr Charity Manyeruke said principals had a big role to play in the constitution-making process.

"People have to accept that we have an executive led by the Presidium which is composed of the President, the two Vice Presidents, the Prime Minister and his two deputies," she said.

"These leaders have a mandate from the people of Zimbabwe. This is the moment when Copac should give the executive the right to exercise their mandate. They are the managers of this country.

"Going to Parliament with the deadlock will not solve anything because the bickering and the deadlock will remain. The available route that is clear and without any problems is to go to the executive."

After the final drafting of the Copac report, parties were allowed to scrutinise the report and Zanu-PF proposed a number of amendments on sections where Copac deviated from the people's views during the outreach programme.

Copac acknowledged deviating from the people's views. The MDC formations endorsed the report without proposing amendments.

The two formations argued that Zanu-PF's proposed amendments would be considered at the Second All Stakeholders conference, but have now made a U-turn saying the proposed amendments could not be taken on board.

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