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NCA dismisses first draft

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The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has dismissed the first draft of the country’s proposed new constitution as a replica of the Kariba Draft crafted by representatives of the three main political parties without any input from the public.

The Kariba Draft was crafted during a retreat to Kariba by representatives of Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC in 2007.

NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku yesterday said: “The draft is the Kariba Draft on a Copac letterhead.

“As long as the constitution-making process remains exclusively in the hands of the three political parties in the GPA, Zimbabweans must not expect a miracle: the result will be a Kariba Draft vesting all powers in an Executive President and not doing enough in the area of social and economic rights. This is what we have seen in Copac’s First Draft.”

Madhuku threatened to campaign for the rejection of the draft, arguing it was not people-driven.

Instead, the Madhuku-led NCA is advocating for the setting-up of an independent and non-partisan constitutional commission.

“The NCA urges Zimbabweans not to be hoodwinked by Zanu PF’s claims that the Copac Draft is taking away power from the President. This is a bargaining strategy. This is the same strategy they used to cheat the MDC into signing the GPA. At the time the GPA was being signed, Zanu PF cheated the MDC into believing that the GPA was a power-sharing arrangement, yet at the time of implementation, it changed track and reminded everyone that the President was ‘head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief’. With these three titles, the President in the GPA is doing everything, leaving the Prime Minister, a ‘ceremonial senior minister’,” he said.

In 2000, the NCA successfully campaigned for a “No Vote” against a draft constitution crafted by the government-appointed Constitutional Commission.

“In 2007, the three political parties published their Kariba Draft, which, like the rejected 2000 Draft Constitution, concentrated all powers in the President. Once again, after almost three years of pretence, Copac is producing a second version of the Kariba Draft with even more powers being given to an Executive President.

Such a constitution is not acceptable and will be rejected by Zimbabweans in the referendum.”

Meanwhile, the three drafters of the country’s new constitution yesterday received a “thumbs-up” from Copac co-chairpersons representing the two MDC parties, Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi.

The two said the experts would be allowed to continue with their mandate despite reservations from Zanu PF.

This follows reports that Zanu PF was pushing for the three drafters – Justice Moses Chinhengo, Priscilla Madzonga and Brian Crozier — to be ousted for allegedly failing to incorporate “people’s views” in the current draft.

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