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NCA press statement on passing of electoral laws
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
December 23, 2007

The National 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 in place.

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