CONSTITUTION MAKING AND ELECTIONS IN ZIMBABWE
I have been reluctant to be part of the dialogue about the constitution making process which to me seems flawed. What COPAC has gathered so far is information from an elite driven discourse that views the people as non-essential. It would therefore be difficult for anyone to convince an ordinary Zimbabwean that, in Zimbabwe people can be given the chance to drive any national process or that they can be convinced to have any burning desire to do so. What I can safely say is that the constitution making process in Zimbabwe has been elite led, elite managed or elite manipulated. This is a reality and a tragedy of elitism.
Having had the privilege of observing the COPAC led outreach meetings I noted with grave displeasure that the process was reduced to a contest between political parties – an arena for bitter struggles because parties viewed it as a process of crafting new rules of the political game, rules which would prescribe who has the power. With the new meta-rules that are likely to govern the new political order and ideally leveling the political field the process became an arena of partisan struggle for supremacy. While the country is still trying to come up with a first homegrown constitution , the three protagonists in the inclusive government have been declaring their readiness for the elections. One would shudder to imagine why?
Why would ZANU PF want an election when it enjoys the lowest popular support in its post independence history, unless the party has suicidal propensity? And why would MDC (T) desire early elections when the psychological impact of the March and June 2008 elections violence is still projected in the voters’ souls? To say Zimbabwe is ready for elections is mind bulgingly complex to say the least. From the look of things, there is a need for the fear factor to start dissipating and for the voter to make an effective and meaningful choice. And why would MDC (M) want an election when it is comprehensively in disarray, unless it has suicidal inclinations? ZAPU is still in its infancy and is yet to convince the people of Zimbabwe that it is not an extension of ZANU PF. Where are Simba Makoni and Shakespeare Maya? Are they going to emerge during election time to cause confusion again?
… and why would the current crop of members of parliament want to end their tenure unless they also need to be jettisoned of their suicidal inclinations. In fact early elections are no one’s best option. It is of paramount importance to note that there is no inherent virtue in early election before the country has done its homework in terms of crafting a new constitution, allow time for the new constitution to take root, clean the voters rolls that is allegedly inflated with phantom voters and develop the infrastructure for a contest that produces valid and undisputable elections.