Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 00:00
The constitution is the bible and supreme law of any country, which must not be ambiguous and vague. Its chapters must never contradict each other and must not give room for varying interpretations. The preamble of a constitution must outline in summary the principles, values and ethos of a nation. It must highlight who the people are and their desires and aspirations. I strongly feel there was need to include in the preamble of the latest Copac draft that the nation stands guided by our liberation struggle principles and ethos. These liberation principles are the foundation from which the nation moves forward.
The Copac draft falls far short from meeting the major aspects of a preamble. It can be concluded that our draft constitution has a weak foundation which will create a weak nation that has no direction. In the preamble we are only told that we are united by a common desire for freedom, justice and equality. To me this means the country is not free; has no functional judiciary system and does not observe the rule of law, hence we are desirous to acquire these facets of neo-liberal democracy.
The draft constitution does not show legal skills and competencies of legal pundits. These so-called legal experts have deliberately moved away from the common practice of drafting a constitution and have negated most of their legal profession’s governing principles that include respect for other people’s views, honesty, integrity, fairness and forthrightness.
The draft, regardless of the absence of a national report, is a flawed document and highlights only personal excitement limited to the drafters, Copac and their pay masters namely UNDP and the West.
The inconsistency in the preamble, which only acknowledges Zimbabwe as a sovereign State but has no history and future boggles, the mind. The vagueness and ambiguity with which the draft was structured makes one doubts on the legal competence of both the drafters and co-chairpersons.
An example is where under freedom of expression and freedom of the media the draft states that: “everyone has the right to freedom of expression’’. This can easily be interpreted in law to mean, BBC, CNN, Studio 7, Sky News, would have the legal right to operate in Zimbabwe and may not require registration before publishing any news in Zimbabwe. The question that arises is where on earth is such malice practised?
If Professor Jonathan Moyo called Copac a mafia group, I think he was kind with his words. The drafters and the co-chairpersons can easily be likened to legal terrorists or Rhodesian selous scouts who never liked Zimbabwe to be free. The question to ask is: if the co–chairpersons called Professor Moyo “an evil man” what are they in regard to the trash draft constitution?
The whole draft constitution is darkened by words that represent the interests of Anglo-Saxons. Words like ‘‘rights, human rights, governance, democracy, rule of law’’ which the MDC-T claims to be their 29 outstanding issues, are recklessly used in a legal framework that is aimed at regime change. The inclusion of a plethora of commissions as tools of governance boggles the mind.
How can a nation be ruled or administered by commissions that are not accountable to the electorate but accountable to those who appointed them? Does this Luciferian type of democracy ever exist anywhere? Even in America, which is viewed by many as a model of democracy, such commissions do not exist.
The draft contains a lot of jargon that may be interpreted in many varying ways. The question that arises in regards to the ambiguity and vagueness of this
Luciferian draft constitution is why would legal pundits draft such an important document giving room for any judge to interpret the law according to the meaning of a word rather than getting guided by a legal principle of judgement. An example is where on paragraph 4.24 of agricultural land, Copac states “no person maybe compulsorily deprived of interest or right in agricultural land by the State or any other public authority.”
They further state that: “anyone has a right of access to the High Court or another independent court either directly or on appeal from tribunal or authority for determining.” Aren’t these Copac people keen on bringing the defunct Sadc Tribunal to meddle in our internal affairs?
How did this glaring fact escape Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana’s legal judgement and analysis? Is this not a violation of Zimbabweans’ rights to claim what is God-given to them? One wonders whose rights are the drafters referring to in a legal language that sounds asymmetric? The national report is very clear that the land reform is irreversible.
It further states that any reversal of the land reform must be through a referendum whose outcome must be not less than 90 percent of the total vote. It is, however, disheartening to note that Copac and the three drafters chose to ignore what people said and preferred to include their own views.
On elections the drafters and Copac surprisingly included provincial assemblies when people said they wanted a unitary government. This was a borrowed fact from the South African constitution and not from what people said. I feel our economy cannot sustain national and/or provincial assemblies. This fact was, however, included asymmetrically to enhance a devolution agenda. Maybe this was why Cde Douglas Nyikayaramba was removed from Copac; the powers that be wanted to include these treacherous issues.
The other issue that is not well inscribed in the draft constitution concerns the composition of senators and the process of getting them to office. This issue is clouded with a lot of ambiguity and vagueness which demonstrates yet another ploy by Copac to advance a devolution agenda.
The draft constitution also makes an interesting inclusion and empowering of a Parliamentary Public Appointment Committee (PPAC). The PPAC has been inscribed as an institution of parliament which approves all presidential appointments. While in the same constitution it is clearly stated that the President shall appoint the
Attorney-General and Judges of the High Court and Supreme Court, the PPAC is later said to be the approving authority. It sounds vague isn’t it? This then dilutes the powers of the President and defeats the concept of independence of the judiciary since PPAC is composed of political animals who may agree or disagree with the appointed member for political reasons. I therefore feel that the selection process by the judiciary service commission for any judge to be appointed to the bench should be concluded by a Presidential appointment of the judge. Any parliamentary committee should not be engaged in the whole process in order for the judiciary to remain independent.
This must also apply to any appointments that are carried out and are vested in the President.
The concept of PPAC is viewed by many people as a practice employed in South Africa and which many legal pundits say has no place in Zimbabwe and must never be allowed to be operationalised for it stifles judiciary and security operations.
There are several “parked” items in the draft constitution. It is frightening to note how the term came into existence. Both the drafters and CopaC were mandated to transform the national report into a draft constitution.
They were never at any given period assigned a negotiating task. Their job was simply to write a draft constitution which included what people said so as to allow Zimbabwe to have a people-driven constitution. It must be noted that transforming what people said is not completely changing what they desire and aspire the constitution to be.
It is therefore naïve, hypocritical for both the drafters and Copac to draft a constitution that ignores the aspirations of the people and their voices.
Another area of concern in the draft constitution is that of citizenship. I have good information that in the national report many people favoured a mono citizenship. I subscribe to this sentiment for citizens should not have shared views on national interest which is likely to be the case with dual citizenship.
An example is where one may commit crimes in one country and flee to live in the other where he enjoys dual citizenship. In short, dual citizenship compromises issues of national interest and national security.
The draft constitution contains some hate overtones that are intended to weaken certain institutions and are aimed at retiring some individuals. It is a highly personalised and politicised treacherous legal document. It is a legal draft document prepared to advance the regime change agenda in order to guarantee Western interests.
This draft therefore is an attack on the integrity of the people of Zimbabwe whose views were mainly neglected.
So Zimbabweans be alert as Copac is a regime change weapon.
* Panganai Kahuni is a political socio-economic commentator.