‘I’m taking Mugabe on’

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THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) yesterday transformed itself into a fully-fledged political party and immediately pledged to meet President Robert Mugabe head-on in the next elections.

PATRICE MAKOVA
POLITICAL EDITOR

Long-serving NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku was endorsed as the new party’s interim leader.

Over 300 NCA members converged in Harare for the NCA special congress and voted overwhelmingly to transform the constitutional body into a political party, 16 years after its formation. They said it was now futile for the NCA to expect that Zanu PF and the MDCs would revisit the issue of a new constitution given their “self-fulfilling referendum and subsequent introduction of an undemocratic Constitution”.

“It cannot make sense to the NCA to lobby politicians who have taken leave of their responsibilities,” the NCA members said in one of their resolutions.

“In light of this the current political and social environment, calls for the NCA to move from its current strategies of basic civic education and advocacy to the field of competing for political office to pursue its goals of ushering a new democratic and people-driven constitution are welcome.”

It was resolved that a congress would be held before March 31 2014 at which the organisation’s new thrust as a political party would be launched and a new leadership elected.

In the meantime, Madhuku, whose term of office as the NCA chairperson expired in 2011, but has been clinging on to power since then, would be interim leader. The party will continue to use the name NCA until the congress.

Madhuku who made an impassioned plea to members to transform the NCA into a political party accused the MDC-T and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai of abandoning the constitutional body’s founding principles.

He said the NCA would not forgive Tsvangirai and the MDC-T for giving the country an “undemocratic” Constitution.

The NCA boss vowed the new party would soon dislodge the MDC-T as the main opposition in the country before eventually taking over power from Zanu PF.

“We will not forgive them (MDC-T) for wasting our struggle to have a democratic and people’s driven constitution,” Madhuku said.

He said the new Constitution was only written by a few individuals in Copac, some of whom he accused of enriching themselves with donor funds. Madhuku said people voted blindly for the new Constitution as they were up to now, not aware of its contents.
He said the new Constitution gave too much power to Mugabe.

Madhuku chided MDC-T officials for failing to understand the Constitution that they helped write, as demonstrated by the numerous blunders of legal nature they have been making of late.

“They do not know what they wrote. This is why they are always approaching the wrong courts,” he said.

The NCA leader said during the life of Copac MDC-T officials would be “asleep”, while Zanu PF was busy writing the new Constitution.

“Don’t waste your time going to Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T spokesperson and former Copac co-chairperson) or Tendai Biti (MDC-T secretary-general and former GPA chief negotiator) if you want to understand the constitution. You have to go to (Finance minister Patrick) Chinamasa,” he said.

Madhuku said he was being unfairly “persecuted” and labelled a Zanu PF sympathiser by the MDC-T for correctly interpreting the new Constitution which he played no part in its writing.

He said Tsvangirai alienated himself from his grassroots supporters and former partners in civil society by spending most of his time thinking he was now friends to the likes of Presidents Ian Khama of Botswana, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

Madhuku said the principles of the new NCA party were to see to it that the country was properly governed in a democratic manner and ensure that every Zimbabwean lived a good life, with resources being shared in a fair and just manner.