Research findings by an Indian University and Democratic Party President Wurayayi Zembe reportedly show that most Zimbabweans do not believe that the current constitution making process is democratic and that they do not want government, parliament or political parties to lead the drafting of the charter.
The research by Christ University and Mr. Zembe, titled “Developing a Democratic Constitutional Framework Through a People-Driven Constitution-Making Process For Zimbabwe,” also indicates that Zimbabweans do not want the constitution revision process to be funded by foreign donors.
The research was conducted between December 2011 and December 2012 and sampled 1,120 people and 67 institutions from all provinces in the country.
Asked who should lead the constitution-making process, 85% of respondents said the constitution should come from the people and not political parties, government or Parliament.
More precisely, 17% of respondents said an independent and non-partisan body should lead, while 15% said the draft must be created by a non-partisan civil society organization.
On the question of who should pay for the constitutional development process, 74% of respondents said Zimbabwe must fund its own constitution. So far donors have provided most of the 50 million dollars that have been used in the constitution making process.
It should be noted that study co-author Zembe is also a former member of the National Constitutional Assembly, a body long opposed to a party-driven constitution making process.
Nonetheless, Pedzisayi Runhanya, director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, says the research findings are not surprising.
Mr. Ruhanya also agrees that the new constitution must be funded internally, though says he does not object to donor funding generally.
Mr. Zembe says the research, which was informed by the COPAC process, highlights the importance of a democratic, people driven constitution-making process.
The three parties in the unity government, who are in charge of the current drafting process through COPAC, have argued the process is people-driven because their parties represent the people in Parliament.
Report Filed By Irwin Chifera
COPAC produced the draft charter in July, but sharp differences over issues like devolution, dual citizenship, presidential powers, the national prosecuting authority and the land commission prompted President Mugabe and others to turn the process over to the Cabinet.