Zimbabwe: MDC and Zanu-pf clashes doom crucial constitution consultative process

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Two leading political parties in Zimbabwe, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu PF have connived to postpone a crucial constitution consultative conference as this intensifies speculation that the whole process would be aborted.

The conference was due to begin in Harare today (Thursday).

A new constitution is viewed as fundamental to efforts to remove the political and economic forces responsible for ruining Zimbabwe.

The delay by the select parliamentary committee driving the constitution-making process is likely to intensify the political infighting between the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF).

The committee co-chairmen from Zanu (PF) and the two factions of the
MDC held a crisis meeting on Wednesday in Harare and agreed to postpone the conference to Monday.

But on Tuesday co-charmen of the MDC camp Douglas Mwonzora said there
are no compleling reasons to deviate from agreed dates. “We have not received any justifiable cause why we should defer the all stakeholders conference. We have all the resources required and we have to move within the tiem frame stipulated in the Global Political Agreement”.

Fight over Kariba draft

The conference was delayed because of worsening clashes between Zanu (PF) and the main MDC wing over the use of the Kariba draft constitution and logistical issues. Zanu (PF) wants the controvesial Kariba draft, which leaves Mugabe’s powers intact, to be the basis of a new constitution, while the MDC
rejects this.

The Kariba draft was produced and signed by Zanu (PF) and the MDC in
2007 during talks under the auspices of former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

Fight over reform process

The postponement of the conference comes as it emerged this week that
speaker of parliament Lovemore Moyo and his staff are locked in a cold war with MPs in the parliamentary select committee over the constitutional reform process, further jeopardising the exercise.

The fight between parliament’s administration and the MPs’ committee has exposed the cracks within the constitution- making process, which has been widely condemned by civic groups. Critics say it is not inclusive and participatory, and is undemocratic.

Fight over functions

The fight is over control of the process, including the planning of the stakeholders’ conference, initially slated to run from today until Sunday; the invitation and accommodation of delegates; tenders for the conference organiser, and the choice of guest speaker.

Parliament wants Moyo to be the guest speaker while MPs are pushing to
invite prominent South African politician and business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa.

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