14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Blamed for Latest Copac Deadlock

Representatives from the MDC formations have blamed ZANU PF's 'intransigence' for the latest constitutional deadlock.

Robert Mugabe's party stands accused of revisiting issues already agreed to by all parties. The latest deadlock after Thursday's management committee meeting stemmed from differences to do with devolution, the national prosecuting authority, the truth and reconciliation commission and the land commission.

Analysts say it is not possible to resolve the differences and it is high time the doors were opened for others 'to come in and diffuse the deadlock.'

Douglas Mwonzora, the COPAC co-chairperson, believes the MDC formations have 'done their work,' and the onus is now on 'ZANU PF to do theirs.' Mwonzora said it is deeply frustrating that a lot of time has been wasted on talks, yet the deadlock keeps creeping back on the table.

Dewa Mavhinga, a policy and research director with the newly formed Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said it will be a monumental disaster if COPAC failed to deliver a new constitution to the people of Zimbabwe.

'If you look at the differences between the sides, they are not that huge and certainly not insurmountable. There are bigger issues to worry about than certain provisions in the constitution, like lack of reforms to the security apparatus,' Mavhinga said.

The country's constitution-making process has taken over three years and the exercise has just been a battleground in the endless war between ZANU PF and the MDC formations.

Most of the issues in the draft were tackled during the three years of crafting the charter, but ZANU PF intends to undertake a fresh audit to the process. An analyst said such an exercise would amount to 'reinventing the will of the people' after they submitted their wishes during the outreach process.

Mavhinga insisted that such an endeavour would add no value to the exhaustive constitutional making process.

He said one way of breaking the deadlock may be to bring a wide range of different expert groups together for a constructive public dialogue, adding that there was a need to suppress partisan interests in favour of the overarching goal to write a new national constitution.

Others believe the deadlock over the constitution can only be broken by regional leaders who brokered the coalition, after the disputed and violent elections in 2008.

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