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COPAC draft Constitution: Vote No to this elitist peace charter
and politicians gravy train
International Socialist Organisation (Zimbabwe)
February 14, 2013
For over 15
years the people of Zimbabwe have demanded a new people-driven democratic
constitution to replace the compromise and lop-sided 1979 Lancaster
which, with convenient self-serving amendments by Zanu PF, has been
the back-bone of a dictatorial and increasingly neoliberal state.
They have demanded a constitution written by the people themselves
in a democratic, participatory and gender-youth-disability balanced
way. A constitution that ends the imperial executive presidency
and guarantees democratic and accountable political governance and
bread and butter socio economic rights. Thus the people rejected
the 2000 Chidyausiku Draft Constitution and the Kariba Draft
COPAC has delivered, two years late and to gobble over $130million,
is a deeply flawed process and product. Contrary to earlier promises,
the COPAC Constitution
is a negotiated and elitist peace charter by the three parliamentary
political parties and their western backers.
Whilst gains have been
made in relation to the inclusion of some socio-economic, gender
and labour rights, a deeper look at the COPAC Draft shows that it
fails to address fundamental issues of severe poverty, gender and
social inequality, economic democratisation and full political democracy
as shown in the "15 Reasons to Vote No" attached.
In an era where
85 year-old Pope Benedict XVI resigns citing advanced age, the COPAC
Draft allows an 89 year - old President Mugabe to potentially rule
for another 10 years, until he is 99! It ensures maximum protection
of private property thereby preventing the possibility of using
our diamonds, platinum, gold or banks to fulfill the declared socio-economic
rights of the people. Its real aim is to create a durable constitutional
framework of intra-elite democracy and harmony in the face of potential
huge revolts from below arising from economic crisis. Thus the COPAC
Draft leaves substantially intact the iron fist of the executive
imperial presidency to be used by the ruling classes to smash revolts
from below as the crisis of capitalism locally and internationally
worsens. To please the western capitalist masters, the COPAC Draft
has scandalously omitted the peoples' rights of economic empowerment,
indigenization and nationalization of strategic resources, under
workers' and communities' democratic control. Further, it provides
for compensation to white farmers and foreigners whose farms were
expropriated, but without a cent for the ex-farm workers who lost
their jobs or land for urban housing. The Draft will allow the Zanu
PF chefs and generals to sell for a huge profit the multiple farms
they have looted. To ensure this the Draft provides that the land
chapter can only be amended after a 2/3 parliament majority and
a constitutional referendum. Workers are denied the right to a living
wage, a real right to strike; civil servants denied full collective
bargaining rights and their full citizenship rights. Women denied
rights to abortion, social grants, or 50-50 parity in jobs. Students
denied the right to education. No economic or empowerment rights
for youths, women, the unemployed, farmers and informal sector.
There is no right to recall corrupt or ineffective MPs or councilors,
whilst it creates, per capita, the biggest parliament in Africa.
It is clear that the
COPAC Constitution is there to look after the interests of politicians,
the rich, employers, capitalists and imperialists, i.e. the 1% of
plutocrats or elites, but doing so in a deceptive manner that deludes
working people that their interests too are covered. Vanorova mbwa
The International Socialist
Organisation calls for the urgent establishment of a united front
of workers, working people, women, youths, students, rural farmers,
the disabled, war veterans, socio-economic justice activists, socialists
and all democrats to spearhead a Vote No Campaign in the Referendum
on 16 March. And beyond, to fight for a real people-driven constitution
and against the GNU's neoliberal agenda and system of capitalism,
which is the real source of dictatorship and poverty. Socialism
is Life! Reclaim Your Rights Vote No!
to Vote No!
1. It was not written
by you the people but by four leaders of the GNU political parties.
2. It's not democratic! 33 Years rule by one man is enough.
It allows President Mugabe, 89, possibly to rule for another 10
years, when he will be 99! Zvanyanya . . . He must retire. Even
the Pope has, at 85.
3. It does not provide funded and time-defined rights to: jobs,
education, health, housing, water, food, electricity, public transport,
rural development; disability; social security and empowerment.
It does not provide basic rights but only progressive rights which
are subject to claw-backs and availability of funds to the State
but there are no provisions to enable the State to fund the declared
4. It's not democratic! It retains the imperial executive
president: "President wemasimba ose." President appoints
all cabinet ministers and most senior state, military and judicial
officials; can unilaterally change laws, dissolve parliament or
declare war. Provides no age limit. Allows current judges and AG
Tomana to stay in office without vetting. No real Devolution of
power is provided for.
5. It does not guarantee free and fair elections! The same June
2008 generals and judges will control the election process! No right
to vote for the Diaspora. No right to recall corrupt or ineffective
councilors or MPs; No proportional representation of MPs; No quotas
for workers, farmers, youths or war vets.
6. Is a politicians' gravy train: has over 350 MPs, 2 vice
presidents and an unlimited cabinet! It abolishes death penalty
mainly for men over 70 years . . . who are these and why them alone?
Abolish the Death Penalty for all! In 2011 it was the Zim
45 facing the death penalty for treason charges of watching
the Egypt video, today it's the
GV 29 political prisoners . . . Free Maengahama and Ors . . .
Drop the charges!
7. No compensation for victims of past genocides, Gukurahundi, state
June 2008 and Murambatsvina.
No transitional justice and punishment for perpetrators of crimes
8. Attacks workers: no living wage; no full right to strike; denies
full collective bargaining for civil servants; prohibits civil servants
and municipal workers from political activity; no protection of
contract workers; no time limits for finalizing labour disputes;
no exclusive Labour Court.
9. Attacks youths and students: No right to jobs, public work programmes
or economic empowerment; no right to education, grants or loans;
no youths quotas in parliament/councils; no right to abortion.
10. Attacks women: no 50-50% quotas in jobs or all public offices;
no economic empowerment; no social grants and social security right;
no funded maternity pay/benefits for all women; no right to abortion.
11. Attacks vendors and informal sector: no right to trade or work
without harassment; no economic empowerment; no social security
benefits. Attacks and scapegoats minorities like gays and lesbians.
12. Does not give land to the landless or for housing or compensation
to ex-farm workers but specially protects the chefs with many farms;
and compensates ex-white and foreign western farmers.
13. Is preparation for another elite GNU after elections, bringing
together Zanu PF and MDC politicians, bosses and imperialists to
make money and accelerate their policies of capitalism, ESAP and
neo-liberalism against workers, youths, women, farmers and the poor
["Eat what you hunt"].
14. It totally defends the capitalist system and property of employers
and the rich. No nationalization under workers' and communities'
control of natural resources like diamonds, platinum, gold and major
businesses to fund jobs, education, health, water, rural farmers
etc. No empowerment or employee or community ownership schemes!
It's a constitution for politicians, employers and the rich:
the 1% of plutocrats or elites, and not us the 99%, the ordinary
15. No more half-backed promises of change or the crumbs COPAC is
offering just because of elections. Politicians lie to get into
power but once in office they forget the people and start looting.
The COPAC Constitution will cost over $130million yet the SA one
cost less than $30million! Like the Lancaster one, this COPAC Constitution
will become permanent and enslave us and future generations.
Politicians think they own the people, who will just blindly follow
them . . . Stop them
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