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‘New constitution will be negotiated’


Zimbabwe is most likely to adopt a negotiated constitution instead of a people-driven governance charter, a leading South Africa-based Zimbabwean academic has said.

Addressing delegates at the Zimbabwe Devolution and Democracy Conference in Bulawayo on Saturday, Sabelo Gatsheni Ndlovu, a professor in the Department of Development Studies and chairman of the Africa De-colonial Research Network at the University of South Africa, said the celebrated South African constitution was not people-driven, but “it was negotiated by political movements and civic society”.

“I see Zimbabwe going through a similar route of a negotiated system. People are saying it is wrong, but we will go through it. If political parties are to put national interests ahead of political interest, then we are likely to move a step ahead,” he said.

The conference was organised by Bulawayo Agenda, National Youth Development Trust and Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association.
Speakers included academics, politicians, women rights groups and economists drawn from all over Zimbabwe.

The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee-driven process has been mired in controversy as parties haggled over procedures leading to the final document.

Some observers — including politicians — have said there would be need for the three parties in the inclusive government to negotiate some aspects of the new supreme law.

Gatsheni Ndlovu noted the South African ruling African National Conress (ANC) did not support devolution of power, but gave in as a result of pressure from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the National Party (NP), the two minority parties in government.

“The ANC, as a former liberation movement didn’t tolerate a decentralised system and a push for federalism came from two movements that were not popular – the IFP and the NP.

The NP knew majority rule would come and they thought in a devolved system they could revive their Afrikaans heritage and the IFP always valued its Zulu identity,” Gatsheni Ndlovu added.

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