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deadlock loosening? - Constitution Watch
September 20, 2012
Is the Constitution-Making
A deadlock in
process was reported to President Zuma on his visit to Harare
on 15th August, just before the SADC Summit in Maputo.
President Zuma, in turn, reported the differences between ZANU-PF
and the MDCs in his report to the Summit. Although, in its communiqué
of 18th August, the SADC Summit urged the parties to work together
on the constitution, a deadlock on the parties’ opposing stances
was again reported to the visiting South African facilitation team
on 29th August.
MDCs said the
COPAC draft was
the final and only draft and that they would not entertain alterations
to it; and wanted to refer the matter to the new chairperson of
the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation,
President Kikwete of Tanzania, and the facilitator, President Zuma
– in other words, to invoke the 18th August Maputo Summit
resolution requiring SADC intervention to assist in resolving “any
difficulties” over the constitution.
to accept the MDC positions that the draft was final and could not
be changed. They were insisting that ZANU-PF’s proposed
changes to the COPAC draft should be considered at the level of
the party principals, who had yet to meet and discuss the draft.
They denied there was a deadlock and refused to participate in a
referral to the SADC Organ.
Hardened by Subsequent Party Actions
Both MDCs wrote
letters to Presidents Mugabe, Zuma and Kikwete
On 30th August
Mr Tsvangirai sent a letter to President Mugabe, copied to Presidents
Zuma and Kikwete, setting out the MDC-T position and stating that
the COPAC draft had been agreed and that the there was no role for
the principals to discuss changes to the finalised draft. Professor
Ncube sent a similar letter to President Mugabe and the other Presidents.
campaign for a YES Vote on the COPAC draft
8th September Mr Tsvangirai went ahead as earlier promised and launched
the MDC-T’s promised Vote YES campaign for the COPAC draft.
The MDC also announced an immediate campaign in support of the COPAC
to insist that their proposed changes to the COPAC draft should
be considered at the level of the party principals despite the fact
the principals’ meeting was constantly postponed.
Meetings Repeatedly Aborted
In fact there
were no principals’ meetings until today. The principals usually
meet on Mondays and were therefore expected to meet on Monday 20th
August, shortly after returning from the SADC Summit. They did not
meet. Again, there was no principals’ meeting on Monday 27th
August; because the President was away all that week for the NAM
Summit in Teheran. Nor was there a meeting on 3rd September; Mr
Tsvangirai was out of the country to attend the Democratic Party’s
National Convention in the United States. Although President Mugabe,
Mr Tsvangirai and Professor Mutambara met on Monday 10th September.
Professor Ncube was not invited to the meeting and there was no
discussion of the constitutional logjam. On 11th September Mr Tsvangirai
and Professor Ncube, on standby after that day’s Cabinet meeting
at President Mugabe’s request, waited for a GPA
party leaders’ meeting. They were then told the meeting had
been rescheduled to a date and time to be notified. Instead the
President met Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, ZANU-PF’s
lead GPA negotiator, and Minister of Defence Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF’s
secretary for legal affairs.
19th September the President, Mr Tsvangirai and Professor Mutambara
eventually met – Professor Ncube having excused himself to
attend to his mother, who is ill. There has only been a Herald report
on this meeting, but the MDCs’ perspective is awaited.
evening President Mugabe left the country to attend the UN General
Assembly annual meeting in New York.
there has been some shifting in two of the parties’ previously
Shifts its Ground
After a meeting
of the ZANU-PF Politburo on Wednesday 12th September, a new but
conditional ZANU-PF position emerged: The COPAC draft may go to
the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference IF
National Statistical Report on the Outreach is printed and taken
to the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference together with
the COPAC draft – so that everyone can have a copy to compare
with the COPAC draft
- ZANU-PF will
take its amendments to the Conference.
to reporters party spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed that the party
principals had not deliberated on the draft to find consensus rather
than deadlock, and explained: “We have said as a party that
we will go to the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference with
the COPAC draft, but the national report should be printed before
the stakeholders conference so that everyone can have a copy and
compare it with the COPAC draft. We are saying the new Constitution
should fully take into account the issues that we raised. If the
MDC formations endorse the draft as it is, we will ask the people
who will be present to compare with the national report. We will
go to the All Stakeholders’ Conference with our amendments.”
actions to strengthen this position
demanding National Statistical Report
On 13th September
it was confirmed that the Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations
and its chairperson, ZANU-PF’s Goodson Nguni, had lodged an
application against COPAC in the Supreme Court seeking an order
compelling COPAC co-chairs to make its National Statistical Report
available to the public.
party apparatus in support of ZANU-PF’s proposed amendments
On 14th September
ZANU-PF political commissars from all regions of the country met
for what party spokesman Gumbo described as “a mobilisation
workshop where we told them what to do and how to present the party
position at the All Stakeholders Conference”.
Shifting its Ground
says that only the COPAC draft can go forward to the Second All
Stakeholders’ Conference and should not be changed by the
principals. But from saying it is the final draft and that they
would not entertain alterations to it, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas
Mwonzora – also a COPAC co-chair – has now said that
changes to the draft can be made at the Conference: “By its
very nature the Second All Stakeholders Conference can make far-reaching
changes to the draft.” He did however, reject the ZANU-PF
suggestion that National Statistical Report on the outreach must
be presented to the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference to
be used to assess the COPAC draft. He stressed that, contrary to
what people have been led to believe, the statistical report does
not reveal what the majority and minority views on particular issues
At the same
time as easing its stance on changes to the draft, MDC-T has expressed
fears that a faction of ZANU PF is planning to disrupt the Second
All Stakeholders’ Conference by causing “chaos and mayhem”
at the Conference, and said that SADC, the African Union and the
international community must supervise and monitor the Conference.
Not Shifting its Ground
party spokesperson Qhubani Moyo, the MDC led by Professor Ncube
has not changed its stance that the COPAC draft was the final and
only draft and that they would not entertain alterations to it.
They see the purpose of the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference
as being to enable the COPAC to table its draft constitution, as
required by Article 6 of the GPA, and to explain and clarify it
to participants and answer their questions – not a forum for
the continuation of the drafting process or making changes to the
Ball Back in COPAC’s Court?
Will COPAC go
ahead with the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference under ZANU-PF’s
conditions? COPAC will be meeting to decide what to do. Much will
hinge on the Select Committee meeting scheduled for today.
it Go to SADC?
SADC Organ Troika
announces meeting on Zimbabwe for 7th - 8th October
On 4th September
the chairperson of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence
and Security Cooperation, President Kikwete of Tanzania, said there
would be a special Summit of the Organ Troika on 7th and 8th October
at which developments in Zimbabwe and Madagascar would be discussed.
The announcement came in Dares Salaam at the end of a special meeting
of the Troika called to discuss the situation in the Eastern DRC.
President Zuma did not attend the meeting, nor did members of his
facilitation team. The official communiqué’s only reference
to Zimbabwe was the statement that the Troika Summit “agreed
to convene again soon to deliberate on the developments in Madagascar
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