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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis

  • Response to the Zanu PF/ MDC agreement on the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill
    National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
    September 20 , 2007

    Visit the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional Amendment 18

    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 of treachery.

    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.

    5. Notwithstanding 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:

    • Zimbabweans 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.

    The inescapable 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 constitution.

    Accordingly, 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!!

    Visit the NCA fact sheet

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