Komichi speaks on MDC constitutional reform

via Komichi speaks on MDC constitutional reform | The Zimbabwean 28 August 2014

Senior MDC leaders are not trying to impose their agenda on party structures, says national deputy chair and head of the committee tasked with a constitutional reform outreach programme.

Recent reports accuse Morgan Tsvangirai, Morgen Komichi and a select number of party leaders are trying to change the constitution to suit their individual interests.

Sources in the party told The Zimbabwean that Komichi was being used to press the party provincial membership to curtail the powers of the secretary general, give more powers to the president and introduce a second vice president.

Other reports claim that Komichi is positioning himself for the position of co-vice president, following a fall out between Tsvangirai and his deputy, Thokozani Khupe. He would share the vice presidency with current party chairman Lovemore Moyo.

Tsvangirai is reportedly unsettled by the fact that he has been humiliated by two splits led by secretary generals, Welshman Ncube in 2005 and Tendai Biti earlier this year – both of whom he considers to have had too much power and influence over the party structures.

The sources said the majority of the party structures from all the 10 MDC provinces nationwide had rejected the idea of stripping the powers of the secretary general while introducing an extra vice presidency.

A senior party member said Komichi was booed when he convened a recent provincial meeting in Manicaland. “Most of the people walked out as he (Komichi) spoke. They queried why he was bringing them a template to fill. They also questioned why there were moves to introduce a new vice president when the party had never been in a unity pact like Zanu (PF) and we are currently broke,” he said.

“It is a good thing that some senior members are opposed to the constitutional reforms. If not handled well, we could see another split soon and that might be the end of the party,” he added.

Secretary for information, Douglas Mwonzora, the organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, and Khupe are reported to be opposed to the constitutional moves.

While no comment could be obtained from Khupe and Chamisa, Mwonzora said he was not opposed to making changes to the constitution, for as long as it was done democratically.

“I am for constitutional reform, for as long as it is coming from the people and not imposed,” Mwonzora said. He would not comment further but sources said his relationship with Komichi is now tense.

Komichi dismissed the claim that members of the top leadership had imposed constitutional changes relating to the secretary general and the vice presidency.

“I am not even sure who did that precisely, but that was brought up by the people. It is shocking to then hear some of our members say we imposed debate on those changes. How can you do that to such an enlightened membership such as ours?” said Komichi.

He said discussions on changes to the constitution were general and not limited to specific sections.

He described the process of gathering people’s views as democratic, saying the party structures were given two weeks’ notice and the opportunity to freely express their views on what they wanted changed.

According to Komichi, the outreach was the first of its kind as committees tasked to consider constitutional changes in the past had never consulted the people. He declined to comment on the general views of the people, saying that would be done after findings were presented to the national executive committee and then the national council.

Komichi did not rule out throwing in his hat for one of the vice presidents’ posts. “I will not push for anything. I will listen to the people and do as they wish,” said Komichi. “I urge people to have discipline and patience and respect the constitutional process.”