The NCA is a political pressure group bringing together civil rights and pro-democracy groups, opposition parties, churches, the labour and student movements’ opposed to ongoing constitutional reforms
led by the government.
The mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was a member of the NCA until recently when it was expelled from the organization for participating in the government led constitutional reform process.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) which launched a successful “No Vote” campaign in 2000 which led to the rejection of a draft constitution produced by the Chidyausiku commission has launched a campaign for a “No Vote” once again.
The organisation has produced millions of fliers carrying the “No Vote” message.
“Zimbabwe had a referendum on a new constitution in February 2000. The majority of the people who participated in that referendum voted No and rejected a constitution that was being imposed by the politicians of the day,” read one the million fliers which are also translated in Shona and Ndebele languages.
“There is no difference between the referendum of 2000 and the referendum that the GPA political parties are talking about. This is because like in 2000 the constitution that will be presented to the people in 2011 is not coming from the people. It is coming from the politicians of the day. Copac has not been driven by the people but by selfish Zimbabweans.”
Copac is a parliamentary body leading the constitution making process. NCA says the political parties want to impose a constitution on the people.
“The political leadership is drawn by its own selfish political interests. Political leaders do not want a democratic constitution. Zimbabwean must not allow a constitution driven by the interests of the political leadership. They must vote NO whenever politicians want to impose a constitution,” the fliers read.
“Rejecting a bad constitution at the referendum by voting NO will allow the people to write a constitution for themselves.”
The fears of a negotiated constitution were heightened at the weekend following reports by the leader of the smaller MDC party, Welshman Ncube who told a rally in one of Harare’s high density suburbs that
the final constitutional document is likely to be a negotiated settlement. Zimbabwe is supposed according to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to have a new constitution in place before the country can hold the next elections.
So crucial is the constitution that the country’s political parties have in recent months argued over matters such as methods of interpreting information gathered from the public.
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen the role of Parliament and curtail the president’s powers, as well as guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.