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Conference a damp squib!

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THE two-day Copac All-Stakeholders’ Conference in the capital was just nothing, but a waste of both financial and material resources.

It was worse than a talk show. It was just a damp squib! There was no progress at the conference at all with Zanu PF once again attempting to smuggle its amendments into the draft charter.

Sharp differences on contentious issues – executive powers, devolution, dual citizenship, establishment of the national prosecuting authority, the creation of the constitutional court and the land question — continue to exist, yet the conference was meant to iron out the differences and come up with a draft constitution to be relayed to Parliament and then a referendum for its acceptance or rejection.

In hindsight, the conference should not have taken place in the first place since it was crystal clear that the main political gladiators — the MDC formations and Zanu PF — were diametrically opposed going into the indaba.

As we have said before, the conference turned out to be a contest of the three political parties, who fought tooth and nail to have their positions incorporated into the governance charter. The parties wanted to sacrifice the views of Zimbabweans on the altar of political expediency.

Our fears were confirmed that the constitution-making process stopped being people-driven a long time ago. It is now a political parties process.

Civil society failed to rise to the occasion and associate themselves with Zimbabweans.

Their voices in the 18 thematic committees were drowned by party positions. Their role on Monday and Tuesday was strangely to legitimise the process. As a result, Zimbabweans were the main losers at the conference.

There is clearly a deadlock on many issues.

It is now common cause that the impasse would need President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube to resolve it as principals of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

The principals have to deal with the contentious issues before the draft is sent to Parliament and finally subjected to a referendum. It is no longer the wishes and views of the people that will prevail, but those of Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Ncube.

The spirit and later of the GPA’s people-driven constitution is now a mirage, lost by the wayside. As Zimbabweans, we were used by greedy and corrupt politicians whose sole mandate is to secure their place in the body polity of this country and the feeding trough by hook or crook.

We were taken for a ride! It’s time we should reclaim our power at the referendum if the principals come up with a draft constitution that trashes our wishes, dreams, visions and views.

Let’s say no to a rigged process!

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