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press statement on passing of electoral laws
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is disturbed by the continual abuse
of legislative and executive powers by the house of assembly and
the executive in Zimbabwe. The recent passing of the amendments
to the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA), Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Electoral
Act is a direct violation of the people s rights. The NCA is
concerned because no body was given a mandate by the people of Zimbabwe
to right a constitution for them or has a right to impose a constitution
on the people.
The NCA dismissed the
recent amendments to the Electoral Act, AIPPA, POSA, and BSA as
a non-event. It is the NCA s belief that the amendments are a ploy
by politicians to entrench their power and the amendments will achieve
nothing for ordinary Zimbabweans. The NCA further reiterates that
attempts to impose peace meal amendments to the constitution will
be vigorously defended and rejected.
What the people of Zimbabwe
need is a people driven constitution not a political settlement
between political parties.
We note with regret how
the constitutional crisis is being used to the advantage of politicians.
For minister Chinamasa to say to the MDC It s a 50-50 situation,
you give in order to get something back its an undermining of democracy
and constitutionalism. It answers the suspicions that we have always
had that there is nothing for the people in these amendments but
everything for the politicians. Do we write constitutions for the
people or for politicians?
It is only a new constitution
that can stand as a voice of morality and vision for a prosperous
Zimbabwe. These amendments will do nothing to stop the manipulation
of voting rules, repression of free expression and intimidation
of voters so totally that the aging president will continue gripping
on to power, his iron fist tighter than ever. These amendments are
not what the people wanted as they were never consulted. Why politicians
(especially the MDC) would be fooled to think that the President
will not evoked his constitutional presidential powers to have his
way in the election is a mystery.
It is high time that
the politicians of our land show single-mindedness and unswerving
commitment to the cause of the people and not be guided by emotion
and personal interests. We do not believe that in this era people
can continue to pretend to be men of the people but rather they
should try to be men for the people.
Our once placid nation
has been thrust into chaos because of a constitutional crisis. It
is the process and the contents of our current constitution which
was not for the people but for a few politicians who were negotiating
for power which is the source of our current problems. And as such
the solution does not lie in imposing a constitution to the people;
rather it lies in giving the people a right and a chance to participatory
democracy. Participatory constitution making is today a fact of
constitutional life as well as a good in itself. We, the NCA has
always reiterated that both the process of making a constitution
and the contents thereof are equally important. A democratic constitution-making
process is, in the words of African observer Julius Ivonhbere, critical
to the strength, acceptability, and legitimacy of the final product.
If Zimbabwe is ever going
to be a legal democracy, this has to be underpinned by a brand new
people driven constitution that guarantee individual rights and
equality before the law. New institutions to support the transitional
democracy can then be set up and running (Including a constitutional
court- the highest court of the land) once a new constitution is
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