National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku was critical of the degree of civil involvement in the drafting of the new constitution from the signing of the Global Political Agreement on 15 September 2008 because the process was government dominated.
Madhuku warned that giving too much power to the Select Committee of Parliament might result in a constitution that would not be acceptable to the people as happened with the 1999 draft constitution which was rejected in a referendum in 2000.
The same had happened to the constitution drafted at Kariba in 2007. Though this constitution was drafted by members of the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, it was never adopted.
“They just wrote it. Even within their parties there were no discussions,” he said.
Though it took longer than expected the new constitution was accepted at the national referendum and was signed into law by President Robert Mugabe yesterday.
Madhuku’s efforts to stop the referendum flopped and he has acknowledged that the NCA has no future now and will be turned into a political party.
Viewing cable 08HARARE970, CIVIL SOCIETY WARNS OF FLAWED CONSTITUTIONAL
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0970/01 3021320
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281320Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3626
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2387
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2507
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1011
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1783
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2138
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2563
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4991
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1656
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000970
AF/S FOR B. WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: CIVIL SOCIETY WARNS OF FLAWED CONSTITUTIONAL
¶1. (SBU) In an October 24 conversation with poloff, Lovemore
Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
condemned the constitutional drafting and adoption process
laid out in the September 15 signed power-sharing agreement.
He charged that the intended constitutional process does not
allow for sufficient participation by civil society
organizations and ordinary Zimbabweans, and warned that
ZANU-PF has a constitutional history of pretending to engage
stakeholders, while ultimately drafting what meets their
needs. END SUMMARY.
Beware, Says Madhuku
¶2. (SBU) Lovemore Madhuku was highly critical of the degree
of civil society participation in the drafting of a new
constitution, as stipulated in the September 15 power-sharing
agreement He said that the proposed process is government
dominated. Specifically, the “Select Committee o
Parliament” responsible for creating subcommittes, holding
public hearings, convening a stakehoder conference, and
drafting the document, will nt include civil society
members. Civil society ill only be represented through the
subcommittee, where they will be chosen by parliamentarians.
¶3. (SBU) According to the schedule agreed upon by ZANU-PF
and the MDC, following the stakeholder conference and before
the draft constitution is put to a national referendum, the
draft will be debated in Parliament. Madhuku warned that
during this debate, the draft is certain to be amended. He
cited the 1999 constitutional drafting process as an example
of ZANU-PF-led duplicity. Responding to calls for
constitutional reform, President Mugabe appointed a
constitutional committee in 1999 to produce a draft. That
committee consisted of 400 commissioners, nearly all of whom
were handpicked by Mugabe and were members or supporters of
ZANU-PF. According to Madhuku, the committee completely
changed the context of the goals of constitutional reform and
produced a draft that sought to strengthen the presidency.
(NOTE: To the surprise of Mugabe and ZANU-PF, that
constitution was rejected in a nationwide referendum, as
voters revealed their waning confidence in government. END
¶4. (SBU) Madhuku also cited the draft constitution produced
in Kariba on September 20, 2007 as additional evidence of the
lack of civil society or public involvement. The Kariba
draft constitution was coauthored by four MDC and ZANU-PF
representatives as part of the negotiations leading up to the
harmonized presidential and parliamentary elections last
March. According to Madhuku, the draft was written without
any external input. “They just wrote it. Even within their
parties there were no discussions.” Madhuku now expects that
any new constitution would use the Kariba draft as a baseline
document. Indeed, the Kariba draft was cited in the
power-sharing agreement and attached as an appendix.
¶5. (SBU) Madhuku, who represents the feeling of many civil
society leaders and activists, has long been a critic of
HARARE 00000970 002 OF 002
ZANU-PF. More recently he has been frustrated by what he
feels is insufficient involvement of civil society by the
MDC. This is driving his call for public demonstrations as
an alternative means of effecting the constitutional process.