The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: No Way, President Tells NCA

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"They are not an authority on constitution-making and their views do not take precedence over those of others, " he argued.

A membership of 120 000, which is denied, cannot hold an entire country to ransom. The legitimate representatives of the people in terms of our Constitution are elected in a general election. A voluntary association such as the Ist applicant cannot by any imagination appoint itself as the arbiter of what is people-driven . Ist respondent is and remains no more than a pressure group.

The NCA's views, President Mugabe said, could not be accepted as the views of the citizenry of the country.

"If it (NCA) wishes to evaluate itself to that level then it must revise its objectives, reduce its independence and guidance on donors and seek the support of the people as a political party," he said.

He said political parties in the Global Political Agreement would not be subordinated to pressure groups.

"The fact that the applicants disagree to the approach taken by the political parties in the GPA is not an issue of concern to the courts or to the public in general for that matter," he said.

Whether the process was dominated by political parties is totally irrelevant to these proceedings.

In terms of the Referendums Act, whenever the President considers it desirable to ascertain the view of voters on any question or issue, he may declare that a referendum takes place and appoint a day for the holding of the referendum.

President Mugabe said the application by the NCA was not urgent as the applicants had not made out a case for the relief which they seek.

"It is not clear whether the application is a review of the decision of the President to call for a referendum or whether it is an application for a declaratur that the proclamation is unlawful and ultra vires the Referendums Act," he said.

The applicants have not demonstrated what harm or prejudice they would suffer if the referendum is held on March 16, 2013.

NCA and its leader want the President to give the nation at least two months to debate and analyse the draft before the referendum.

The matter is expected to be heard today.

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