Experts cast doubt on new constitution


Constitutional experts and political parties not part of the Global Political Agreement on Thursday cast doubt on the new constitution being crafted by Copac saying the final document was likely to be a “Zanu PF constitution” which would not be people-driven.

The analysts said Zanu PF had manipulated the process through violence and intimidation and the views likely to prevail were set to be those of Zanu PF.

Constitutional lawyer Greg Linington said contents of the Kariba draft, crafted by the three parties and is preferred by Zanu PF will see the light of day at the expense of people’s views.

“There are a lot of questions on whether the kind of draft that is likely to emerge from this process would be people-driven because Zanu PF made it clear that they favoured the Kariba draft and that seems more important for them than what people said,” Linington said.

“The process should be informed by the views of the people, but if politicians are interested in their pre-conceived ideas and use violence to manipulate the process, there will be a problem.”

Linington said what was important in the drafting stage was to ensure the new constitution upheld the rule of law, independence of the Judiciary, and ensured powers of the Executive were limited.

“I am concerned that there was no civic education prior to the constitution outreach programmes and as a result the issue of violence impacted negatively on the whole process,” he said.

Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) spokesperson Silver Bhebe bemoaned lack of participation by civic society and political parties outside the government of national unity.

“Political parties like MKD were not involved in all stages of the process and Zanu PF was manipulating the process, writing scripts for people. Given that scenario, the draft constitution will express Zanu PF views,” Bhebe said.

Political commentator, Blessing Vava also expressed suspicion on the constitution making process, saying:

“The process itself was marred by chaos, violence and intimidation, which was being perpetrated mainly by Zanu PF which wanted its views to dominate. Many Zimbabweans failed to submit their views to Copac due to too much interference by politicians.”