New Constitution Will Not Guarantee Fair Polls: Dabengwa

Dabengwa told a public meeting in Harare Wednesday evening that any attempts by Mugabe, his former boss, to make self serving constitutional changes during the current drafting process was foolhardy.

“Once a constitution has been passed by the person; that is the people’s constitution and no individual, no matter what position he has, has the right to subvert that constitution,” Dabengwa said.

“The people of Zimbabwe would stand up to it. The people would be able to stand up and say ‘No we will not accept that manipulation’.”

Dabengwa said ZAPU and the majority of Zimbabweans made it overwhelmingly clear during the Copac outreach programme they preferred devolution of power but Mugabe was trying to block the popular idea from seeing the light of day.

The former Home Affairs Minister gave a surprise thumps up to the current constitution making process being run by his political opponents and further urged Copac not be destructed by repeated calls for the abandonment of the process by Zanu PF politicians.

“What is most important is what the people said from the outreach programme and from the indications that have already been given by Copac, it looks like they captured most of the issues that the people brought forward,” he said.

“The drafters of this constitution are the same drafters who drafted the 1999 constitution and they already have that expertise and experience and we hope this time they will be more careful to ensure that what the people said is not be manipulated and changed to other people’s thinking.”

The former PF ZAPU intelligence supremo was however quick to add that the adoption of a new constitution will not guarantee good governance under the Mugabe regime.

“A new constitution can set the frame for a democratic election but it cannot itself guarantee free and fair elections,” said Dabengwa.

“Individual politicians and political parties can either guarantee the framework or subvert it.  The constitution must contain provisions that guarantee the separation of powers such that there is no abuse of power by any organ of the state.”

Dabengwa, who together with a group of former PF ZAPU stalwarts broke out of Zanu PF 2008 to revive the party, said Mugabe has benefited unfairly from the severely lacerated Lancaster House Constitution.

He derisively said the compromise ceasefire document was the longest ever transitional constitution he has ever come across.