Zanu PF using draft charter to test popularity

Zanu PF using draft charter to test popularity

by The Standard on September 16, 2012 in Opinion:

Report by Tendai Muchada

Zanu PF’s proposed amendments to the Copac draft have become the talk of town, but that is just much ado about nothing. The Copac process which took three years to complete (with Zanu PF participating) came to an end with all political parties appending their signatures as a compliance act of agreement.

Predictably, after the submission of the Copac draft, Zanu PF spin-doctors convened their own constitution-making process, which in the eyes of many, was bent on creating confusion and stalling the people’s process. However, as an individual, I beg to differ on Zanu PF’s rationale behind bringing their own constitution on the table.

Zanu PF is well-known for using uncouth political means to hang on to power and nobody believes that they want to be part of a formal process in which people will freely decide.

The reason behind a parallel document is for Zanu PF to do a national test with regards to its current popularity ahead of the presidential election. It is no news that this political party is very much abreast with its growing unpopularity.

When Freedom House and the Mass public Opinion Institute (MPOI) publicised their findings on current popularity statistics between Zanu PF and MDC-T, the chief political architects in Zanu PF were quick to dismiss those findings regardless of the same position being taken by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, which argued against the issue of the research environment.

However, it is needless to say that Zanu PF has never planned using data gathered by liberals. The forthcoming referendum provides a very good platform for the party to measure itself against other political parties in terms of popularity.

History has it on good record that the rejection of the 2000 constitution provided fertile ground for Zanu PF to consolidate its power by convening a reign of terror on white farmers.

I remember watching President Robert Mugabe on state television on February 12 in 2000, presenting his widely applauded speech which was reconciliatory and gave hope for political unity and the existence of political tolerance.

Little did we know that his words were not to live beyond 12 midnight that same evening, for on February 14, the very first farm invasion was reported in Chief Svosve’s area followed by a string of invasions on white-owned farms. My own analysis of that situation was, Zanu PF saw an onslaught on its ideology and existence. It is against this political background that one does not need to consult a rocket scientist if briefed about the current Zanu PF stance with regards to the current Constitution- making process.

The Joint Operations Command (JOC) has not downed its tools. Let us not be fooled by any report or research that violence will be arrested. Zimbabwe needs to brace for another bloody show-down if ever there are going to be two documents up for selection at the next referendum and more-so if the Zanu PF draft is going to be dismissed. The results of the referendum shall be a litmus test whose results will form the basis for Zanu PF’s election strategy.

With that in mind, it is very much important for all political parties to allow the people of Zimbabwe to vote YES or NO to the draft which was produced by Copac. It is a process error for anyone to say that let us have the national report before the referendum because this report should also inform the nation and the international community on how this constitution -making process went about from onset up until Zimbabwe went for its referendum.

All signatories to the GPA must ensure that this process is safeguarded from fly by night politicians who are always prepared to speak on behalf of the people.