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groups accuse MDC of treachery
Sebastian Nyamhangambiri, ZimOnline
September 20, 2007
of Zimbabwe non-governmental organizations (NGO) has accused the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of treachery
after it endorsed a governmental constitutional reform bill that
paves the way for President Robert Mugabe to anoint his successor.
In a sign of
growing divisions between the MDC and its key civic allies over
the constitutional Bill, the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) accused the opposition party of
cutting deals in Parliament with the government in total disregard
of ordinary citizens who it said were clamouring for an "open
and genuine process of democratisation."
The NCA is a coalition
of churches, women's groups, opposition parties, students and workers
founded in 1997 and from which the MDC was born two years later.
The NCA, which together
with the MDC mobilised voters to reject a government constitutional
draft in a 2000 referendum campaigns for a new and people driven
constitution for Zimbabwe.
"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," the NCA said in a statement to be flighted in
newspapers beginning today.
"Both (MDC) formations
seem to be out of touch with the aspirations of ordinary Zimbabweans
who are clamouring for an open and genuine process of democratisation.
"Only a genuine
and people driven-driven process will bring the much-needed transformation
of our society," said the statement signed by coalition chairman
The MDC, which though
split into two rival camps has acted together in dealings with Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party, said in Parliament on Tuesday that it was
backing the government constitutional to help create conditions
conducive to the peaceful resolution of the country's crisis.
Welshman Ncube, secretary
general of one of the MDC factions, rejected the NCA's criticism
and insisted the opposition party had endorsed the constitutional
reform Bill in the greater interests of resolving Zimbabwe's worsening
political and economic crisis.
He said: "Our first
and sole responsibility is to seek a solution to the current political
and economic crisis under which people are suffering. Hence, our
supporting the changed Bill."
of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 18 Bill will see constituency boundaries
changed, parliamentary elections brought forward by two years while
Parliament - which Mugabe controls - will be empowered to elect
a new president should the incumbent fail to serve a full term.
Analysts see the clause
empowering Parliament to elect a new president as an exit mechanism
allowing Mugabe, 83, to quit active politics, handpick a successor
and possibly rule from the sidelines.
The MDC had
pushed for an entirely new constitution that would guarantee basic
freedoms and free elections but relented after Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa agreed to changes
that watered down the amendment Bill.
The changes included
abolishing the president's power to appoint members to the lower
house of parliament, which will have 210 members compared to the
current 150, and a further expansion of the upper house to 93 members
from 84, with five appointees.
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