FORMER Constitution Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) co-chair Douglas Mwonzora has lamented the Zanu PF led government’s apparent abandonment of the new constitution which was voted into the country’s supreme law exactly four years ago.
But opposition National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku, an ardent proponent of a new people driven constitution, says the chickens were coming home to roost after his party’s former allies ignored the former civic group's pleas for their allies not to take part.
Zimbabwe’s new national charter was overwhelmingly voted in during a referendum on March 16 and 17 in 2013 and was accented into a fully-fledged law May 22 by President Robert Mugabe.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday, Mwonzora said only five percent of what is contained in the new constitution has been operationalised, leaving almost the entire content of an expensively authored document lying dormant.
“We are extremely disappointed that almost four years now after the people delivered a new home grown constitution, the government has done nothing to operationalise that constitution,” Mwonzora said.
“The rights that the constitution gives especially the freedom to demonstrate and present petitions has been trampled underfoot.”
Mwonzora continued: “The devolution that the people of Zimbabwe cried and struggled for has not been implemented at all and so many things within the constitution has not been done.
“This brings us to the important observation that adoption of a new constitution does not guarantee a new constitutional order automatically.”
The MDC-T secretary general and former Nyanga North added,“Less than five percent …virtually nothing has been done and where attempts have been done to operationalise it has been on such a peaceful basis that the new law makes no meaning at all.”
The new constitution replaced the 1979 Lancaster House document which saw the transition from the country’s white rulers to a black led dispensation.
Zanu PF opponents have often blamed the country’s repressive environment to lack of a constitution with clear-cut systems that guard against the abuse of power by the incumbent.
An inconclusive presidential election in 2008 and the subsequent ushering of the MDC-T and its breakaway faction into a new hybrid government with Zanu PF saw the rivals embark in a painstaking constitution making process.
This was despite spirited resistance from the NCA which felt its allies had betrayed the people by jumping into bed with Zanu PF.
Four years after, Madhuku said government’s failure to align the country’s laws with the new constitution was proof the process was defective.
“It is not surprising this was not a constitution, people were cheated into voting for that constitution into law,” Madhuku told NewZimbabwe.com.
“The constitution was not done by the people. It was actually a document which saw the politicians of the day in Zanu PF and MDC cheating people into believing that the document is there.
“The reason where are now is because we did not involve people in a real, genuine manner. The people can afford to be far from their own constitution.
“The problem is not that people are not implementing the constitution.
“People are not as interested in the constitution as they would have been if they participated genuinely in a new constitution.”
Critics say Zanu PF has been cherry picking for realignment, laws that suit their own cause.
Currently, party politicians have pulled all the stops to force a constitutional amendment that should see a sitting president handpick the country’s Chief Justice.