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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis
to the Zanu PF/ MDC agreement on the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(No. 18) Bill
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
20 , 2007
the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional
From its publication
in the Government Gazette of July 18 2007, Constitution
of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill was condemned unreservedly
by the NCA. It stands condemned.
1. In various
public fora, countless grassroots meetings held across the country
and in the published statements, the NCA has maintained its key
demand for a new, democratic and people-driven constitution as a
foundation for good governance and economic prosperity. The NCA
stands for the principle that constitutions must be made by, and
for, the people.
2. As a matter
of principle, the NCA rejects piece-meal amendments to the current
constitution. This approach is shared by a broad section of civic
society. It is on the basis of this principle that the NCA together
with key stakeholders in our society, opposed the Constitution
of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 17) Bill in 2005. On the same basis,
it rejects the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill.
3. The MDC is
a member of the NCA and has been a member since 1999. The NCA was
founded in 1997, some two years before the formation of the MDC.
For a long time, the NCA has been working with the MDC in the crusade
for a new people-driven constitution. Thus in February 2000, the
NCA teamed with its members including the MDC and mobilized Zimbabweans
to vote NO in the February 2000 referendum. The reason for the NO
vote was to protest against the process. The NO vote was in fact,
about the principle of a people-driven constitution and a demand
for a people-driven process. In this respect, the MDC's decision
to abandon the principle of a people-driven constitution and opting
for a process driven by political parties in Parliament is an act
4. The fact
that the two 'formations' of the MDC have been able
to agree on such a fundamental issue of principle in relation to
constitution-making makes the NCA wonder why the party split over
the senate, itself a product of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(No. 17). Both formations seem to be out of touch with the aspirations
of ordinary Zimbabweans who are clamouring for an open and genuine
process of democratization. Accordingly, the claims by one of the
MDC formations that it is 'closer' to the people must
be dismissed as hollow. Only a genuine and people driven-driven
process will bring the much-needed transformation of our society.
its endorsement by the MDC and the so-called amendments coming out
of the dialogue process, Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.
18) Bill remains in essence, what it was on 18 July 2007 when it
was published UNILATERALLY by Zanu PF. The NCA wishes to repeat
here that Amendment (No. 18) does not, in any way, advance the interests
of the people of Zimbabwe. For instance, it provides for the following:
will not be able to elect a president of their choice whenever
the office of the president falls vacant in between parliamentary
elections. Parliament will now elect a president who can serve
a term beyond four years. In other words, Amendment 18 now creates
a situation where a person who has not been elected by the people
can govern Zimbabwe for four years (but less than five years).
The MDC agrees to this.
- The size
of Parliament has been increased beyond the capacity and requirements
of the country. The House of Assembly increases from 150 to 210
members, while the Senate balloons to 93 members from 66. The
MDC agrees to this.
- It provides
for a Human Rights Commission when the Bill of Rights has not
been improved. The MDC agrees to this.
- It does not
provide Zimbabweans in the Diaspora the right to vote. The MDC
agrees to this.
- It does not
change the manner of appointment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC), yet it entrusts ZEC with more sensitive roles such as the
delimitation of constituencies. The MDC agrees to this.
conclusion is that the so-called agreement on the Amendment 18 is
nothing but a power-game. It must therefore be rejected. What is
required for our country is a secure basis upon which we are governed.
This secure basis comes from a new, democratic and people-driven
the NCA urges all Zimbabweans to reject piecemeal amendments to
the constitution and in the process reject the proposed Amendment
Number 18. The NCA encourages Zimbabweans to intensify the push
for a new, democratic, people-driven constitution.
We will vote
in 2008 under a new constitution!!
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