Constitution not meant for revenge
If passed into law, the new constitution in Zimbabwe will not be used as a tool of revenge by whoever assumes power after elections – that was the basis of breaking the impasse.
The original 266 amendments to the constitution that Zanu-PF wanted have now been whittled down to six: they deal with the devolution of power, appointment of the judiciary, appointment of governors, the role of the human rights commission, presidential running mates and the constitution of a land committee.
“Nothing was rejected by Zanu PF but issues were simplified and we all met halfway as a compromise. So far everyone seems to be satisfied,” said MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube.
The MDC pushed vigorously for devolution, which was one of the clauses in the draft constitution Zanu-PF opposed.
Zanu-PF argued that devolution would divide Zimbabwe along tribal lines and lead to disintegration of the state.
The party pushed for clarity on what devolution would mean.
“It was agreed in writing that devolution did not in any way mean cessation because cessation would lead to breakaway states. Running mates for presidential candidates will be allowed, while it was agreed the Human Rights Commission will not be used as witch hunters, and its independence should be maintained,” Dube added.
The issue of provincial governors was also ironed out. They will now be known as chairmen because they will chair provincial committees that report to central government.
They will also not be hand-picked by the president any more.
Meanwhile, Simon Khaya Moyo, the former ambassador to South Africa, is punted as the replacement for late vice-president Joshua Nkomo, who died on Thursday.
Moyo beat other possible candidates because it was agreed in the Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and Zapu that the positions of second vice president will always go to a Zapu leader.
“When the two parties (Zapu-PF and Zanu) merged in 1987 it was agreed in principle that the Zanu-PF chairman and the country’s second vice-president should come from former Zapu-PF members. But there are some within Zanu-PF who still question this. But to maintain peace Mugabe has to stick to this principle,” said a senior Zanu-PF politburo member.
This balancing act by Mugabe has kept the likes of Emmerson Mnangagwa out of the presidium. Mnangagwa is vice-president, Joyce Mujuru’s bitter rival in the succession equation.
- Nhlalo Ndaba