Let Copac run its full course


The so-called prophets of doom could be right after all.

They foretold of rogue elements within the ruling party ranks as coming up with all sorts of dirty tricks to derail the constitution-making process from its infancy so the nation would be forced to go for early elections under the old governance charter.

That way, the pendulum would be tilted in their favour.

Since day one of the constitution-making process, the “revolutionary” party has come up with all sorts of decoys to ensure the process misses its set target.

Demonstrations, unsubstantiated accusations, a combination of legal means and use of force have all been applied along the way.

The recent illegal publication of the first four chapters of the draft constitution by the State media is just one of the many examples.

One needs not be a rocket scientist to discern that the published chapters were leaked to those papers by elements within the party to throw spanners in the works of the nation’s drive towards democracy.

As far as Zanu PF is concerned, the Copac process must therefore be shot down and the nation forced to go to the polls under similar conditions to those that obtained during the 2008 harmonised elections.

The onus is now on Zanu PF as a “people-centred party”, as it claims, to be in its manifesto to prove the nation wrong.

What is urgently needed at this point in time is for other partners in the Government of National Unity to be more vigilant and avoid being led off track by smoke-and-mirrors acts. If Zanu PF removes itself from Copac, the constitution-making process must proceed without it.

The new constitution is not being made for any political party, past, present or future, but for the people of Zimbabwe.

If Zanu PF supporters have genuine grievances over how the draft is being put together, the sanest thing is for them to vent their anger by rejecting it at the referendum stage rather than crying foul at the formative stage.

So reports that war veterans at the weekend besieged Copac offices and disrupted a joint briefing for the media and civil society should be strongly condemned, as allowing the former liberation fighters to soil the process will not provide a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s problems.

Sensible war veterans should channel their objections through normal party channels.

Violent disruptions of democratic meetings only reflect badly on the former ruling party. Every Zimbabwean is aware that Zanu PF has been clamouring for elections since last year.

Their chance will come at the referendum and the parliamentary debates. If they can garner enough support to condemn the draft document, then good for them. But they must also recognise defeat when it stares them in the face.

One would think the primary motive for those who liberated the country was to ensure democracy would prevail, but continued stifling of the democratic process leaves everyone wondering why there was a liberation struggle at all.

Whose interests were they fighting for if they still require Zimbabweans to remain deferential to them?

It is time Zimbabwe’s war veterans woke up to new realities.

They must respect the people’s will and stop trying to manipulate democratic outcomes.

Do they want to be remembered for that travesty?