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Aug 19th
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ZANU-PF afraid of losing power


ZANU PF continues to be indecisive on the proposed draft constitution because the party is afraid of losing power in the event that the country adopts a new and democratic charter, analysts have said.

The Zanu PF Politburo on Wednesday met for the fourth time in a few weeks, but again failed to come up with a decision on the Copac draft and instead proposed a wholesale amendment of the document.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Professor John Makumbe said Zanu PF was unhappy with a number of provisions in the draft particularly those which democratise the constitution.

He said if the country was to go for elections using the Copac draft, Zanu PF was likely to lose.

“They are comfortable with dictatorial practices that is why they are revising the whole document so that undemocratic practices are properly represented,” said Makumbe.

“The party does not want democracy of having elected governors or having people who are selected through committees. They are even more afraid of the basic human rights as enshrined in Chapter 4. They feel there are too many rights.”

He said President Robert Mugabe could easily accept the document, but the hawks in the party were reluctant because they wanted to protect the current status quo and secure their tenure in power.

Political analyst, Gift Mambipiri said Zanu PF was torn into many opposing factions that have now developed a “sickening” tendency of selfishly looking at every agenda item through eyes “blinded” by succession.

“The party will not agree because agreeing with the positions adopted by the MDC’s leads one to being labelled as a ‘sellout’ and that is unfavourable for people trying to position themselves for succession,” he said.

Mambipiri said it was important to note that Zanu PF had initially agreed to the draft since the party representatives, Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana and negotiators, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development minister, Nicholas Goche had appended their signatures to the document.

He said the current indecision by Zanu PF was being caused by securocrats and party hawks who wanted to take over from Mugabe.

“The only way for them to remain relevant and in the picture is to always throw spanners in the works so that a deadlock is declared and we are forced to go to elections without the protection offered by a good constitution,” said Mambipiri.

He said Mugabe does have the power to decide on the new draft, but he was trying to do a balancing act.

“On one hand, he has to protect his legacy as a Zimbabwean statesman which means playing by the rules and respecting the Copac draft,” said Mambipiri. “On the other hand, he has to think about his security and safety especially as the securocrats are advising him the draft in its current state leaves him exposed.”

The party is against dual citizenship and the dilution of powers of traditional leaders who are its traditional allies. Zanu PF is also against the establishment of a constitutional court and the restructuring of the office of the Attorney-General.

‘Breakdown of law is the major problem’

Former Zanla commander, Wilfred Mhanda said the problem in Zimbabwe was not a new constitution, but the breakdown of the rule of law.

He said whether there was a new constitution or not, Zanu PF was not going to obey the rule of law.

“Zimbabwe does not have a constitutional crisis, but it has a crisis of an illegitimate government which came about through a fraudulent electoral process,” said Mhanda.

He said Zanu PF would not commit itself to a process which will result in it losing power.

“For the party, accepting a democratic constitution is like committing suicide by creating conditions which will result in a free and fair election in the country,” said Mhanda. He said there was no incentive for Zanu PF to cooperate with the two MDC formations, because this would mean giving up or sharing power.

“The MDCs have an illusion that Zanu PF will cooperate this time around. They will never willingly give up power,” said Mhanda.

He said it was equally an illusion to think that Mugabe was being controlled by party hawks and securocrats, citing the Zanu PF leader’s recent decision to disband the District Coordinating Committee (DCCs) without any notice.

“The buck stops with Mugabe and it is an illusion that there are some people who control him,” said Mhanda.

But Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo insisted that the two MDCs had to agree with the proposed Zanu PF amendments if they wanted the constitution-making process to succeed. Gumbo said the party wanted several clauses amended, including those dealing with the appointment of provincial governors. The party wants the sitting President to appoint the governors instead of what is contained in the current draft, where the majority party in the province appoints the governor.