Wording is everything: this then is question Zimbaweans should be asked in the referendum!
January 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
After the sham 2008 elections in which the country witness the worst orgy of political violence in modern history the parties to the GPA agreed that the GNU will be tasked to implement a number of democratic reforms including security sector and media reforms and write a new democratic constitution which will then be presented to the people for their approval or disapproval. All this was to be done to achieve one purpose – to ensure the next elections “are free and fair and the results are a true reflection of the democratic wish of the people”. In short to ensure the next elections are not a repeat of the sham elections of 2008.
The very fact that GNU was tasked to write a new constitution was per se an acknowledgement that the existing constitution was NOT democratic and will not deliver free and fair elections.
There reason why there was to be a referendum on the new constitution was to give the people the chance to express their opinion first of all on the new constitution itself: whether is it the democratic constitution they expected. And secondly on whether they are satisfied with the implementation of the reforms and all other preparatory work the GNU was supposed to carry out.
In other words the referendum is asking the people to vote on this simple question:
ARE YOU SATISFIED THE DEMOCRATIC REFORMS HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED AND THE COPAC CONSTITUTION IS THE DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION AND THEREFORE ZIMBABWE IS TRULY READY FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS?
Please vote yes or no by marking the appropriate box with a X.
The consequences of voting yes are:
a) Zimbabwe can move on to the next stage and hold fresh elections confident they will be free and fair. If they are not then Zimbabweans have only themselves to blame for approving a process which they could see was rotten through and through.
b) SADC, as the regional guarantor of the GPA, and the international community can rightly wash their hands of Zimbabwe. If a defective political process that denies citizen even the most basic right to free and fair elections is what the people of Zimbabwe want, then outsiders must not interfere.
The consequences of a no vote are:
a) Zimbabweans will have rejected that enough has been done to guarantee free and fair elections and the logical thing would be to revisit the reforms and rewrite the constitution. Elections will have to be put on hold until the guarantees they will be free and fair.
b) SADC will be duty bound to assist Zimbabwe to ensure there are free and fair elections. The international community will assist and make sure the people are not once again denied this basic and fundamental right.
c) Zimbabwe’s next election will be free and fair and the country can be assured of good, democratic and account governments from there on. The country’s climb out of the economic and political hell-hole will have final began in earnest.
It would be wrong for the parties in the GNU to suggest that Zimbabwe will revert to the Lancaster House Constitution if the people reject the Copac constitution. It is the same parties in the GNU who failed the people by failing to implement the reforms and by allowing Mugabe to “dictate” the Copac constitution – no wonder it is a tyrant’s manual and not the democratic constitution the nation want. The people have the right to reject a process they can see is totally inadequate with the expectation that things will be put right and not to be punished by having a rejected process imposed on them.
The unspoken consequence of a yes vote will reaffirm that the people do not appreciate critical importance of free and fair elections as a right and for good governance. They are as malleable as mud and tyrants like Mugabe are only too keen to exploit that weakness.
The unspoken consequence of a no vote is that the three parties to the GNU will lose all political credibility. The people will have reasserted their political and intellectual independence and they are never again going to be exploited and taken for granted by unscrupulous politicians.