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PM Tsvangirai Dismisses Zanu PF Constitutional Proposals

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai vowed on Tuesday that he will not be dragged into a discussion with President Robert Mugabe over Zanu PF’s proposed amendments to the draft constitution compiled by the Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC).

His remarks further plunged the constitution-revision process into turmoil as South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team arrived in Harare Tuesday to hold talks with the three coaltion government partners over oustanding Global Political Agreement issues and crafting of the country's new supreme law.

Addressing a news conference in Harare, the prime minister said he will not take part in any discussions aimed at re-negotiating the COPAC draft constitution after Zanu PF made a raft of proposals to amend the document.

Mr. Tsvangirai said Zanu PF’s proposed amendments "are out of the ordinary because the party’s draft is a completely re-written document".

The premier, who is also the leader of the mainstream MDC, said the only option is for Zanu PF to campaign for Zimbabweans to vote against the COPAC draft in a referendum scheduled to be held after the second all-stakeholders conference.

“This draft constitution is a product of years of hard work which included sourcing the views of the people and negotiations between the political parties. So we say no to any attempts to dedicate more time in a process where the country has already committed huge resources and time,” he said.

“We will not take part in anything other than a fair election ... Anything else is a circus. The lesson of 2008 is that Zimbabwe cannot afford anything other than a credible and legitimate election that conforms to SADC's own conditions on the conduct of elections.”

Mr. Zuma’s adviser, Lindiwe Zulu, told VOA Studio 7 that the South African president is planning to visit Harare within the next few weeks to deal with the constitutional deadlock if the parties continue fighting over the draft document.

On key democratic reforms, Mr. Tsvangirai said he was unhappy that media reforms were taking too long to be implemented ahead of crucial national polls.

Responding to a journalist’s question on what steps the MDC would take if Mr. Mugabe went ahead to call for fresh polls using the Lancaster House constitution, Mr. Tsvangirai said there was no way the president could break the law.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba was not immediately available for comment as Mr. Mugabe is in Iran where he is attending a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.