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No to donor - driven Constitution

By Tendai Moyo
It is mind-boggling how a politician whose party had spiritedly called for a "people driven Constitution" could now turn and rubbish the same process saying it is sheer madness for people to expect their views to be included in the draft Constitution.

Such fickle-mindedness was shamelessly paraded by the MDC-T's Obert Gutu, who was widely quoted in the media saying that "It would be folly, indeed lunacy, for anyone to think that we can have a truly people-driven Constitution in a severely polarised political environment such as the one that obtained and still obtains in Zimbabwe today."

Is this not the same MDC-T that unrestrainedly clamoured for a "people-driven" process in its sinister bid to foil understandable attempts by Zanu-PF to use the Kariba Draft as a base document to the Constitutionmaking process?

The party argued that it will not support a negotiated Constitution hence its undistracted demand for a process that genuinely captures the people's views.

Zanu-PF opposed this route, arguing that it is inauspiciously expensive and time consuming but eventually acceded to the former's demands.

It is therefore astounding that after so much money and time has been wasted in capturing and sorting the people's views, the noisy proponents of the "people-driven" process are now offensively dithering and atrociously downplaying the importance of such views in making the Constitution. People like Gutu, who yesterday were impetuous proponents of the "people-driven" Constitution, now stand firmly opposed to efforts to include the people's views in the constitution! The question is, what has really happened to necessitate this unprecedented political summersault? Why is the MDC-T openly embracing the negotiated Copac draft Constitution when it had rejected another negotiated document in the form of the Kariba draft?

What could be discerned is that though the two documents were negotiated and authored by the same political parties, they were substantially divergent in terms of content. MDCT had realised that the Kariba draft was materially bereft of certain clauses pivotal to the whole regime change crusade.

It therefore poignantly insisted on a "people-driven" constitution and under its aegis managed to smuggle toxic issues into the draft constitution to facilitate its regime change shenanigans.

Now that the party has managed to surreptitiously smuggle its toxic content through foreign intercessors like the UNDP and the South African Hassen Abrahim, it is now unashamedly backtracking and has totally discounted the efficacy of incorporating people's views in the new draft. MDC-T has successfully employed deception as a tool to hoodwink the nation into giving it some leeway to foist its subversive views into the constitutional draft.

The country has been duped into believing that people's views will be fully incorporated into the new draft constitution. We cannot therefore accept inimical arguments by people like Gutu, who opines that peoples' views should not be incorporated into the Constitution, because the country is facing polarisation.

Such kind of arguments are plainly illogical, porous and inherently defective. No matter how big the challenges we face as a country, a Constitution is too important a document to disregard the people's wishes and aspirations or make it a transitional document. Look at the Lancaster House Constitution.

It has managed to directly influence our governance and way of life for the past three decades despite it being regarded as a transitional document. Whether in polarised times or not, it will be foolhardy for us to come up with another supposedly transient Constitution which does not cater for our views but would in effect determine our lives and the lives of our children for a long time to come.

For the love of our only country and with due regard to our short lives, we cannot afford to haphazardly experiment with half-baked documents that will manage our lives and those of our posterity.

What should be appreciated is that challenges of any nature, whether political or economic, are part and parcel of our lives. It is these challenges that are transitory and will pass with time. We cannot therefore be seen to be influenced by passing events to come up with passing constitutions. Normally it is these fleeting challenges world over that precipitates the drafting of Constitutions.

The much talked about South African Constitution was necessitated by abrasive challenges spawned by the discriminatory apartheid regime. The Kenyan constitution was precipitated by severe political polarisation. Yet never in both cases did the people settle for non-inclusive transitional Constitutions as being advocated by MDCT.

The fact that we are faced with severe political polarisation should not stop us from coming up with a good long-term and people-centred Constitution that will guide us into the future. In fact, it is schizophrenic to say that this constitution should only be transitional and negotiated since we are facing some short-lived political challenges.


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