Breaking News

The NO Vote in defense of history

by Blessing Vava
05 February 2013 | 2924 Views
A constitution is the highest law of the land, which defines and limits the powers of government and its various branches, vis-à-vis each other, and the people, and provides a strong foundation for a state based on the rule of law. For the UN, the term constitution-making covers both the process of drafting and substance of a new constitution, or reforms of an existing constitution.

Both process and substance are critical for the success of constitution-making. The design of a constitution and its process of development can play an important role in peaceful political transitions and post-conflict peace building. It can also play a critical prevention role. Constitution-making presents moments of great opportunity to create a common vision of the future of a state, the results of which can have a profound and lasting impact on peace and stability. - United Nations Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group

The Parliament select committee finally agreed and produced a draft constitution with the aid of their principals in the shaky coalition government to end years of uncertainty to a process that was neither people-driven nor democratic rather an elite arrangement by those in the corridors on power. The draft is part of the requirements of Article 6 of the 25 September 2008 agreement by the three parties, however, a section fearlessly contested by the NCA. It is this Article 6 that mandated the parties to come up with a committee of parliamentarians to spearhead the process of writing a new charter for Zimbabwe.

Principles and Process vs. Political Greed

The NCA argued that the involvement of those in power to drive the process was not only going to compromise the contents of the document but also the full active participation of the citizenry in this important process in the history of this country. Fully aware that the process of making a constitution is as important as the content we remained skeptical about the whole arrangement. This position may have been largely misunderstood or deliberately shelved. The people driven constitution approach is centered on national ownership and support for inclusive, participatory and transparent processes.

Support is to be tailored to the specific citizens context (often referring to historical and current political epochs) and is drawn from a wide range of expertise both within and outside the government system with its independence uncompromised to ensure access to international and comparative best practice and that the voice of the voiceless is protected. Advance planning is required for the creation and implementation of public information and civic education campaign, public consultation process and the securing of funds, human and material resources. A structured (and time intensive) national dialogue or consultation process that feeds back the views of the people to the decision makers involved in the drafting and debating of the constitution is an essential element of an inclusive, participatory and transparent process.

The NCA encourages constitutional approaches that directly incorporate and make supreme international human rights standards, including an independent and impartial judiciary, as a strong foundation for the rule of law. The setting up of institutions, structures and mechanisms that promote adequate follow-up to ensure implementation of the constitution or constitutional reforms once adopted. This is where COPAC failed the test. It was a commission appointed by their party principals, who ultimately had the final say over what went into its Draft Constitution. After purporting to have collected the views of the people COPAC during the outreach exercise what finally came out was a negotiated constitution containing the views of the elite class in government (Kariba Draft style and majority of the content).

The people driven constitution discourse was simple yet so cumbersome in the views of the oligarchy - citizens participation in the making of a constitution will ensure that their wishes are safe guarded and sacrosanct in the new constitution

History has it on record that we argued in 2000 that the people must determine a process of constitution – making which they can dominate. It was on the strong belief that, the principle of democracy is fully entrenched as people will not, thereafter; allow any future government to change the constitution as it wishes.

After producing two different drafts, one in March and another one in July 2012, it became clear that the final product was going to be nothing but an illegitimate and fraudulent document paraded to the nation as a democratic constitution yet in essence is meant to protect the power of the ruling elites. One of the most contentious and controversial sections which resultantly led to the rejection of the Chidyausiku Draft is the Executive presidency, which the proposed draft has brought back.

    The proposed Draft still provides for an executive president with almost similar powers to the Lancaster Constitution. The President is endowed with unchecked totalitarian powers such as appointing and dismissing most public figures, exercising the prerogative of mercy, dissolving Parliament, declaring a state of emergency.
    Chapter 5, Section 88, the president is still the Head of State and Government and Commander in-Chief of the Defence forces. It would have been prudent for the draft to create to create a post for prime minister to act as Head of Government a more democratic arrangement suitable for a post conflict nation and would provide for intra-accountability in the executive.
    The proposed charter is still silent on the retirement age limit for the president. The president still enjoys immunity for crimes committed in his/her personal capacity. Section 98(1)While in office, the President is not liable to civil or criminal proceedings in any court for things done or omitted to be done in his/her personal capacity.
    Again on appointments, this draft gives the president powers to appoint an unlimited number of cabinet ministers, this clause is open to abuse and that's the reason why currently we have a bloated cabinet thereby burdening the treasury in a small country like ours. Past and present ministers are known for non delivery and only vocal on 'benefits'
    On accountability-this draft provides that vice Presidents, Ministers and their deputies are accountable to the President and not parliament [Section 107 (1)] Subject to this constitution, every Vice President, Minister and Deputy Minister is accountable, collectively and individually, to the President for the performance of his or her functions. This system is open to abuse and will not allow transparency and proper accountability of ministers in the execution of their duties. Yet modern democracies are characterized by shared decision making by the legislative and executive branches allowing for both horizontal and vertical accountability.

Going through Chapter 6 of the draft left me in shock on some of the provisions herein. For a draft that is essentially a product of members of parliament critics were however proved correct. Zimbabweans have always been against a big parliament as it has become a mere talk show and a burden to the fiscus.

    Like the Chidyausiku Draft which proposed a big parliament, the current draft provides for 270 legislators. The figure is not only shocking but a clear show of extravagance and accommodation for the ruling elites to create jobs for the boys as parliament has since become an employment bureau.
    The draft fails to set term limits for members of parliament and one can be an MP for life.
    Parliament is weak, it cannot pass a vote of no confidence in a Minister. If new legislatures are going to have a central role in a nation's governance a democratic constitution provides for a relative balance of power between the legislative and executive branches

It is also imperative to note that this draft allows for the amendment of the constitution by a two thirds majority in parliament Section 328 (5). This is how flawed this draft is in that any party with a two thirds majority that time can change the constitution at will.




In practice the citizens voice is silenced, a nation that deems itself in a transition to democracy should be ready to create provisions for citizens to participate in a referendum to amend a constitution. Any proposed amendments to the constitution must be brought to a referendum to allow citizens to participate as this concept of two thirds supermajority is prone to political manipulations by ruling parties in infant democracies. With these few submission I have made my mind to vote NO in the referendum and I encourage fellow citizens to reject this daft dangerous draft.

It is a negation to the democratic principles of governance and should be rejected resoundingly to send a clear message to those who want to impose a bad document on Zimbabweans. A rejection does not mean we do not want a constitution but is a clear a message that we want a good constitution that is authored by the people for the people and not a few individuals.

Vote Referendum


Disclaimer:
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Source: blevava.blogspot.com

Are housemaids an evil lot?

Yes
26.03%
No
64.87%
Not sure
9.1%
780

Comments

News Updates

Email:

Latest News

Zimra automation almost complete - The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority's ef...

by Funny Hudzerema | 26 January 2015 | 61 Views

White Zambian President booted out - President Edgar Lungu, who was sw...

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 318 Views

Kasukuwere blasts Mutasa and his cabal

by Staff Reporter | 26 January 2015 | 496 Views

MDC Renewal Team's statement on land invasions - The MDC Renewal Team ...

by Benison Ntini, Secretary for Local Government MDC Renewal Team | 26 January 2015 | 343 Views

Mpopoma High tops 2014 'A' Level results league in Bulawayo - POPOMA H...

by Lesley Moyo | 26 January 2015 | 1147 Views

Leonard Cheshire Disability UK official visits LCD projects in Zimbabwe

by Staff Reporter | 26 January 2015 | 390 Views

People should take Cde Chinotimba seriously

by Mukachana Hanyani | 26 January 2015 | 874 Views

Zambia polls free, fair says Mugabe - President Robert Mugabe has cong...

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 1768 Views

Mugabe's wish fulfilled as tortured Senior MDC-T leader dies in South ...

by Wangu-Mine | 26 January 2015 | 6957 Views

ZAPU SG says ZAPU has to think safety in a big way

by Dr Ralph Mguni | 26 January 2015 | 2444 Views

Mat North, Zanu-PF's shining beacon - Zanu-PF's Matebeleland North pro...

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 1537 Views

Re-alignment of Laws Welcome! - The call by Vice President Emmerson Mn...

by Suitable Kajau | 26 January 2015 | 1359 Views

'I didn't plot Mnangagwa's killing' - Liberation war hero and former Z...

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 4425 Views

Mphoko disowns gukurahundi - Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has den...

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 2403 Views

Acceptance speech by the 6th President of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu -...

by Edgar Chagwa Lungu | 26 January 2015 | 1458 Views

Drama as woman tells entire village hubby is not circumcised - Video -...

by Staff Reporter | 26 January 2015 | 3810 Views

Iran gives Mugabe Spy-Technology

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 4271 Views

The Harare city authorities must learn to respect residents

by Bishop Happison Chikova | 26 January 2015 | 1233 Views

MDC-Renewal complain Zanu-PF infighting has left them 'in limbo' - Mrs...

by Wilbert Mukori | 26 January 2015 | 1555 Views

Mthwakazi condemns the blocking of Gukurahundi commemoration - As the ...

by People In Diaspora Matebeleland | 26 January 2015 | 1196 Views

Zimbabwe opposition overshadowed by Zanu-PF drama - MDC-Renewal Team l...

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 1410 Views

Man jailed for bashing pregnant wife

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 1984 Views

UZ student makes suicide video, hangs

by Oswell Moyo/Loveness Bepete | 26 January 2015 | 5646 Views

'Cops' rob 97-year-old

by Thubelihle Mabhena | 26 January 2015 | 2495 Views

Zinara preps for illegal vehicle crackdown

by Leonard Ncube | 26 January 2015 | 2278 Views

Bosso bus expected in Bulawayo this week

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 1942 Views

Asiagate, Tarumbwa haunt Maphepha - HIGHLANDERS members resolved that ...

by Staff reporter | 26 January 2015 | 1925 Views

Ringo billed for pre-Valentines Bash in Bulawayo

by Bongani Ndlovu | 26 January 2015 | 905 Views

Gumbura appeal hearing expected today

by Tendai Rupapa | 26 January 2015 | 1442 Views

Mugabe's aide loses land dispute - Deputy Chief Secretary to the Presi...

by Fidelis Munyoro | 26 January 2015 | 2185 Views

Entertainment

Where is omasiganda music now?

by Fred Zindi | 26 January 2015 | 966 Views

The return of Alick Macheso

by Entertainment Correspondent | 24 January 2015 | 3065 Views

Chigubhu vows to continue cracking people's ribs

by Staff Reporter | 23 January 2015 | 2166 Views

Awesome debut single from Verite - Audio - 05:18, 21 Jan +263 78 ***...

by WhatsApps journalist | 22 January 2015 | 3278 Views

Zim DJ saved by friend

by Staff reporter | 22 January 2015 | 4375 Views

ZBC open to Chinese investors

by Staff reporter | 22 January 2015 | 3810 Views

Fake Facebook page costs US govt $134,000

by Staff Reporter | 21 January 2015 | 3497 Views

Star FM replaces 'old' DJs - After only a month of working as a part-t...

by Staff reporter | 21 January 2015 | 4079 Views
iBlog

Rules Or Relationship

The dog does not need a lead to go for a walk. its owner can just speak a word and the dog responds. now, we are not comparing ourselves to dogs, we are comparing performance-based christian living to relationship-based christian living. big, big ... Read More
LindaDiokpa 30 December 2014 ago

The Nsa Gets An Ok For Telephony Metadata Collection Yet Again

As much as we’d like to forget about the national security agency (nsa) and its mass surveillance program, it seems that there is no distracting ourselves from this unnerving reality.missing from the news for quite some time now, the issue has resu... Read More
SecNews 09 July 2014 ago