The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) are locked in a bitter war of words following a story published in the state-controlled Sunday Mail quoting NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku describing Mr. Tsvangirai as “childish” following disagreements over the draft constitution.
In a statement, the MDC said it viewed Madhuku’s statement as a direct attack on its leader and noted that “it is one thing for professor Madhuku to constructively criticize our president and it is another thing to hurl empty insults at president Tsvangirai as if someone is on a Zanu PF payroll.”
The party stressed that the stance taken by Mr. Tsvangirai is that the constitution making exercise being undertaken under Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement is a parliamentary process in which principals in the unity government must play a minimalist and largely facilitative role.
“This is in line with the crucial doctrine of separation of powers … Any changes to this process are tantamount to rewriting the Global Political Agreement,” said the MDC.
It noted that the parliamentary constitution making body will remain in of charge of the process even though some parties like Zanu PF want the ruling party principals to take over the exercise which is a product of a public outreach program and political negotiations that took place during the drafting period.
The MDC said Madhuku should understand that most of the issues that delegates disagreed on during the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference were “the very issues in respect of which the (parliamentary constitution” management committee engaged in extensive negotiations.
“Therefore no useful purpose is served by renegotiating the same issues at whatever level. It is regrettable that Madhuku does not seem to appreciate this impeccable reasoning on the part of president Tsvangirai.”
The party strongly rejected Madhuku’s views saying he does not even appreciate the positive achievements made so far because he rejected the draft document before it was written, a serious misinterpretation of the processes guiding the constitution writing exercise.
“The professor’s judgment is seriously impaired by his fanaticism on Mugabe and is indeed misguided,” said the MDC.
But the NCA hit back saying there appears to be some in the MDC who are being paid to get emotional and angry on behalf of Mr. Tsvangirai when he is criticized.
NCA spokesman Madock Chivasa told VOA Studio 7 they were surprised by the NCA attack since Madhuku was only exercising his rights to freedom of speech and expression as a Zimbabwean citizen.
“We wish to tell the MDC-T to stop fooling Zimbabweans to support this scandalous draft which they crafted together with Zanu PF so that they enjoy the same powers,” the NCA further said in a statement.
“Instead, their focus should be in dealing with their internal problems which range from corruption, factionalism, waning popularity and not spending time attacking the NCA and is leadership for its principled stance of the drafting of a news charter for Zimbabwe,” read the statement in part.
The organization also said they have “nothing to do with the MDC whatsoever as they are not part of the NCA because of their chameleonic tendencies of being part of a bogus and illegitimate money spinning constitution making process.”