|Zanu-PF politburo endorses huge portion of final draft constitution, proposes amendments|
|Saturday, 28 July 2012 21:17|
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THE Zanu-PF Politburo has endorsed a huge portion of the final draft constitution and proposed amendments to several contested clauses while the two MDC formations adopted the document in its entirety.
Zanu-PF’s supreme decision making organ outside congress formulated the position at a 14-hour meeting which only ended after 2am yesterday.
The MDC-T national executive council met later in the day.
Zanu-PF constitution management committee member, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, said the Politburo tasked party representatives on the panel to collate the amendments into a comprehensive document.
He said the organ will meet again this Wednesday to finalise its position, after which the proposed changes will be tabled before the management committee.
Among the contested areas are national objectives and foundations, the significance of the liberation struggle, the appointment of provincial governors, the establishment of the constitutional court, the deployment of defence forces outside the country and the proposed restructuring of the Attorney General’s Office.
Debate on a section dealing with the nomination of presidential candidates and their running mates will also be concluded at the crucial meeting.
“The debate was very robust with no holds barred. It was very constructive. We went through almost line by line (of the draft),” said Cde Chinamasa, who is also Justice and Legal Affairs Minister.
“The major yardstick against which the document was viewed and critiqued was to the extent to which it remained faithful to the views of the people as expressed during the outreach.
“Most of the debate drew us negotiators where there were deviations. We were asked to renegotiate and realign the document with the public views. On the whole, 97 percent of the document has been endorsed by the Politburo.
“We are going to engage our colleagues in the management committee over the party position. Our expectation is they will accept these proposals to improve the draft. The Politburo and Zanu-PF are committed to seeing this process through. A lot of resources have been expended, we cannot afford to see the process come to naught.”
According to Cde Chinamasa, Politburo members felt the draft provisions on national objectives and foundations do not place “enough weight” against the role of the country’s struggle against colonialism and imperialism.
They also opined the liberation struggle was not clearly recognised as the cornerstone of the modern Zimbabwean nation.
Liberation values should permeate the two chapters, resolved the Politburo, which also wants the national thrust of economically empowering indigenous Zimbabweans to become evident in the document.
The organ rejected a provision advocating an alternative appointment procedure for provincial governors and resident ministers.
The procedure allows a party with the highest number of seats in a given constituency to nominate two candidates, one of whom will be appointed by the President.
“This was rejected outright for the reason that it brings disharmony in a unitary state,” said Cde Chinamasa.
“It allows centrifugal forces to be in ascendancy as opposed to centripetal forces. The Politburo is of the strong mind that the status quo should be maintained.
“The clear understanding on provincial governors is that he or she is the representative of the President in a province and not of political parties.
“He or she is the link between the people in the province and the centre as headed by the President. It is important that harmony and coherence be maintained in the interest of the country and development.”
The Politburo also rejected the inclusion of 10 additional members into provincial councils via a party system anchored on proportional representation.
Presently, the councils, established under the Provincial Administration Act, are headed by provincial governors.
The status quo should remain, according to the party. It also emphasised harmony between the functions of local authorities and national plans and objectives.
The draft constitution also proposes the establishment of a special court to deal with constitutional matters.
However, the meeting proposed the scrapping of this provision, saying the obtaining arrangement serves the country better.