HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsMoyo’s ideas far more dangerous than draft

Moyo’s ideas far more dangerous than draft

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Civil war has broken out in Zanu PF over the draft constitution.

Things are now to bare knuckles.
What does one make of this except to describe it as open warfare after Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, the party’s co-chairperson in the Constitution Select Committee
(Copac), the constitution-making body, labelled party “strategist” Jonathan Moyo as “a devil’s angel” out to destabilise Copac after Moyo started the battle by labelling Copac “a mafia” months before the draft had even taken shape? Was there distemper from the beginning?

Said Moyo this week about the final draft of the constitution: “It strips the Executive (Presidency) of all powers and leaves it as a clerical branch of government.”

It is not true that the draft strips the President of all powers, but that it drastically reduces them as they were excessive in the first place. In view of that, one would certainly have the feeling of having being relegated to a clerk after wielding so much power.

Thus, Moyo’s reference to the Presidency as having been reduced to mere clerical status can be understood in the context that there has been exceeding of authority over the past 32 years with the Executive extending and deepening its powers in clear contravention of constitutional limits in spite of clear separation of powers as enunciated in the supreme law of the land. Now there is some balancing out which makes legal and political sense.

“This draft is an attack, quite a serious attack, on our sovereignty, quite a serious attack on our democracy,” continued Moyo.

Now, now, could a draft which opens more democratic space be deemed an attack on that very democracy? That, to me, is a contradiction in terms.

Moyo goes on: “If you ask what it is in the draft that raises problems . . . I am tempted to say everything. But if I tell you that it has 18 chapters, but I can tell you that each of the 18 chapters has a problem.”

Now, now, there is a huge problem and the problem could be to do with Moyo himself. Let’s leave it there.

No one is saying the draft is a perfect document, far from it, but it took all of three years to compile with all the three main political parties going over it clause by clause. Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said a lot of resources had been put into the draft by Copac and throwing away the document would be irresponsible.

Indeed, that would be grossly so, but to the Moyos of this world, who are there to serve and indulge the political elites rather than the people, this doesn’t in the least matter. From him, there is no affirmation that political change must take place whereas people having been saying that through their vote over the past 12 years.

Does he have more gravitas than the six negotiators of the three political parties combined? If so, why then was the 2000 draft constitution that he heavily championed rejected by the electorate?

The draft constitution cannot really be seriously faulted on any grounds: it advances the principle of representation; separation of powers with checks and balances; limited powers of the government, and sovereignty of the people — not of elites, whether civilian or military. In other words, it’s a people-centred constitution making those in power accountable at every step.

Thus, it passes the constitutional test with high marks.

The draft provides sufficient common grounds for future negotiations and amendments because as the negotiations progressed, a level of trust developed among the key players. There has to be commitment to peaceful pursuit of political change.

There is imperative need to move away from the current posture of confrontation and repression to a new one based on engagement and accommodation — and the nation has been going along with this.

But people who have monopolised power and exceeded their authority for over the past 32 years will find adjustment painful. To them, it’s a terrifying prospect to be suddenly “reduced” to accountability by a mere constitution written on paper or removed from office by a mere ‘X’ on a ballot paper. They are desperate to roll back change.

It doesn’t make legal, political or moral sense. It’s truly sad that people desire power so much that they are willing to destroy this great nation to achieve it.

Such attitudes are more threatening to democracy and sovereignty than anything in the draft constitution.

.ctutani@newsday.co.zw

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