Of jokes and loudspeakers


Although it has not taken off the ground yet, it already looks the proposed Commission of Inquiry into the Constitution will be bogged down with problems.

The Zimbabwe Union of Democrats has written the commission off as the biggest political joke by ZANU-PF on the people of Zimbabwe because the ruling party has simply duplicated its structures into the commission.

The National Constitutional Assembly has said it will have nothing to do with the commission because since it was established under the Commission of Inquiry Act, President Mugabe can accept or reject the findings of the commission.

President Mugabe himself has been quoted by The Herald as saying the commission would conduct studies to see whether the majority of people wanted a complete overhaul of the existing constitution, or whether there were only certain parts which needed to be changed.

But more interesting was the quote: “I have also included loudspeakers in the commission because we also want to hear what they say, as long as it is constructive.”

Makes one wonder how serious the President is about constitutional reform. One was under the impression that everyone was agreed on the need for a new constitution. Perhaps, the only disagreement was on who should be involved in drafting the new constitution.

The National Constitutional Assembly, which represents civic society, has been calling for the new constitution. A Parliamentary committee selected to look at parliamentary reform also recommended a new constitution. ZANU-PF national conferences for the past two years have been calling for a new constitution.

So is there any need for a study?

Besides, by saying he has included some “loudspeakers”, is the President not confirming ZUD’s fears that the commission is a joke?

There is already talk about replacing the party secretary for legal affairs, Eddison Zvobgo who did all the donkey work.

And with 395 members, isn’t this too large a commission?

Can all these people agree and can they really draft a new constitution in time for the elections which some say are scheduled for March next year?



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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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