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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • The politically driven and politicians-centered constitution making process
    National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
    July 14, 2009

    The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is shocked that some people are shocked by the predictable events that took place at the Harare International Conference Centre where the three political parties together with a handful of NGO people converged to start the process of writing a "people driven constitution".

    The NCA has remained steady fast on the need for a genuinely people driven constitution making process since its formation in 1997. With the signing of the Global Political Agreement the NCA immediately articulated the shortfalls of the process spelt out therein. As all Zimbabweans might be aware by now that those in the NCA have made their position clear that they will not be a part of the sham process in article 6 of the GPA.

    So we are appalled by the unrelenting effort from the proponents and drivers of this process to have the NCA participate in a process we have long said we can not trust. For the record the NCA believes that the process which politicians are insisting on is fundamentally flawed and thus we have taken a principled stance to distance away ourselves from this charade of a process.

    The happenings at the HICC confirm our long held principle that a constitution making process must not be subjected to the whims and tactics of politicians. It is our belief that any genuine process must place everyone at the same level. What we saw at the HICC is that the process is a political process nicodemously seeking legitimacy from civic society. Civic players who attended the event were reduced to spectators as politicians took charge.

    The behaviour displayed yesterday is not shocking in political process especially given the ZANU-PF history. We are in no doubt that if this process continues as it is ZANU-PF will have its way and the people will be losers. The face saving press brief at the State House by the principals to the GPA must not fool us. The process is as important as the contents. Politicians must not drive this process or the people will continue to be spectators as politicians play games with the future of the country

    We believe that a constitution making process must not be led by the government of the day or the political parties who dominate the government of the day. The process must be led by an independent body which is constituted by various stakeholders but that body must not just be independent, it must also be seen to be independent. And one way of ensuring that there is an independent process is to get a commission, normally chaired by a judge or a former judge or some other independent person.

    This current process was brought to the country by the political parties who were negotiating the so-called Global Political Agreement. That is a clear indication that it is a political party-led process of making a new constitution for the country. Even if it then involves people being invited by the political parties to join it, it doesn't change the fact that it is led by politicians with political ambitions of capturing or retaining state power. In short Zimbabwe needs a fresh start. The constitution must be written by the people.

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