Zimbabwe negotiators endorse use of Kariba Draft

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    This is in sharp contrast to statements made by the MDC-T last month saying it was deeply concerned by attempts by ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe to impose the Kariba draft as the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

    The negotiators said: “We hereby place it on record that the Agreement of the parties was that the Kariba Draft, which was negotiated, agreed to and initiated by all the three parties to the GPA would be used by the parties through the Parliamentary Select Committee to consult the people on the content of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.”

    “The Select Committee would take the Kariba Draft to the people and consult them on which provisions of the draft they agreed with and accepted and which ones they did not agree with. In respect of those they did not agree with, the people would be asked what alternative provisions they wanted in their place,” the statement read.

    However, the statement that appeared in the newspaper was signed by all the members of the negotiating teams, except for the MDC-T Secretary General and Finance Minister Tendai Biti. But his colleague in the party and Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma signed the document.

    The others who co-signed the newspaper notice, dated 23 July, were ZANU PF Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa & Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Innocent Goche; Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube & Regional, Integration and International Co-operation Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga from the MDC-M also signed the document.

    The negotiators said they wished to clarify and explain what the three parties agreed to be, ‘the place and role of the Kariba Draft Constitution within the constitution making process.’

    “We do this so as to restore, reaffirm and defend the co-operative spirit among the parties to the agreement, which co-operative spirit is absolutely essential and indeed is a pre-condition for a successful conclusion to the agreed constitution-making process.”

    We were not able to reach the Finance Minister for comment but sources close to the MDC leader said Biti may not have put his signature to something his party does not agree with. We also failed to reach Mr Mangoma to find out why his signature is on the document, contrary to his party’s position.

    The MDC has said it rejects the imposition of the Kariba Draft and would reject any attempt by ZANU PF to foist this draft on the people. The party had said in a statement on June 26: “The Kariba Constitution was a compromise document drafted by three political parties and initialled on 30 September 2007 to minimise the possibility of a contested election result in 2008, in line with a SADC resolution that had given birth to the dialogue. It was an interim Constitution that was meant to be used only for the 2008 election, but on 4 December 2007, ZANU PF refused to implement the Kariba draft. Its function and intended purpose therefore died on 4 December 2007 because of ZANU PF intransigence.”

    “ZANU PF cannot resurrect a document meant for the 2008 election, which they rejected and turned down in December 2007. They must not be allowed to sneak it through the backdoor when Zimbabweans have ample time to make their own Constitution,” said the MDC.

    Meanwhile MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa reiterated on SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that his party does not endorse the Kariba Draft, and want a people driven constitution. He acknowledged that the MDC was initially part of the Kariba Draft, which was meant to ‘facilitate a framework’ for the 2008 elections, but that ZANU PF ‘surreptitiously disappeared’ from the negotiating table, and went to declare the election date without the constitution being replaced.

    He added that the Kariba Draft was brought back during the second negotiations mediated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. “We agreed to acknowledge its existence in the GPA but not that it would be taken to the people as a document upon which people are supposed to comment on. That is not in the agreement and in fact it is not anywhere written in the GPA. It is ZANU PF’s interpretation.”

    However, the statement by the five negotiators appealed to the political parties to ‘honour the agreement both in words and in deed, so as to preserve the integrity of the GPA.’ They insist the agreement did not seek to ‘foist the Kariba Draft on the people, but merely to provide a structured way of consulting the people as to determine what exactly was acceptable and not acceptable to them.’

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