Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Copac: Zanu PF pushes for Chinhengo’s ouster

Copac: Zanu PF pushes for Chinhengo’s ouster

Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:40

ZANU PF’s allegations of gross irregularities in the drafting of a new 
constitution are part of its attempt to replace Copac-appointed drafters, 
particularly Justice Moses Chinhengo.

Chinhengo crossed swords with Zanu PF for passing judgments against the 
state in farm invasion cases at the turn of the century while serving as a 
High Court judge. He is presently a High Court judge in neighbouring 

Zanu PF and its affiliates, such as the war veterans and war collaborators, 
have fired broadsides at principal drafters, Chinhengo, Brian Crozier and 
Priscilla Madzonga, and called for the disbanding of the parliamentary 
process for allegedly including issues that were rejected by the people 
during the outreach meetings. The major issues include land rights, dual 
citizenship and homosexuality.

In a well choreographed move, the public media have jumped on the bandwagon 
and are publishing alleged Copac internal documents on views gathered from 
the outreach programme.  Biased analysts and commentators have been roped in 
to rubbish the ongoing drafting process.
A Zanu PF insider said the party was against the drafters’ conduct, 
particularly Chinhengo, whom they had no faith in from the onset.

The source said: “Zanu PF was against Chinhengo’s appointment as a drafter 
and preferred Simbi Mubako, but they were convinced by Paul Mangwana to 
accept him. However, the unfolding events are forcing a relook at the 
drafters, especially their leanings to the British. The backlash would also 
sweep away Mangwana.”

Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that pressure from Zanu PF 
to replace the drafters has been mounting since December.

“Initially in December 2011 we received such calls from Zanu PF to replace 
the drafters. However, we have resisted such orders to accommodate former 
Zanu PF ministers or MPs and ambassadors like Simbi Mubako as drafters. The 
team of drafters is the best we have and were chosen for their impartiality. 
We cannot afford to hire political appointees to come and promote narrow, 
parochial party interests in a national document,” Mwonzora said.
Mangwana could not be reached for comment.

Zanu PF politburo member and strategist Jonathan Moyo penned in his latest 
installment in the Sunday Mail that the constitutional review process should 
be disbanded and accused drafters of subverting views of people gathered 
during the outreach process.
Moyo wrote: “The die is therefore now cast. Elections will be held in 
Zimbabwe this year in accordance with the constitution, but without any 
reference to the Copac process, because that process has become irrelevant 
and useless after being hijacked by the drafters and those behind them who 
want to smuggle alien provisions that are detrimental to the views of the 
people as gathered during the Copac outreach process.”
However, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo on Tuesday conceded that while the 
party was unhappy with the drafters, it was not seeking their dismissal.

“The drafters are not doing what they are expected to do,” said Gumbo. “They 
have considered including issues such as homosexuality, dual citizenship and 
land against the views of the people. The drafters have to follow the people’s 
views and we at no time discussed their removal. We are not interested in 
firing people,” Gumbo said.

Chinhengo resigned from the bench in February 2004 after passing a series of 
landmark judgments against the state. In 2002, he ruled against President 
Robert Mugabe’s proclamation against the holding of mayoral elections in 

In passing judgment on the land question in April 2000,Chinhengo ruled: “The 
farm invasions are illegal. (The) Police commissioner therefore had a clear 
public duty to enforce the order of the court, remove the illegal occupiers 
and give the affected farmers a protection of the law.”

Chinhengo further ruled and ordered the police commissioner should remove 
invaders at Ian Kay’s Chipesa Farm in Marondera. He also ruled against 
Jonathan Moyo’s application in 2001 to gag the Zimbabwe Independent from 
publishing his alleged fraudulent activities at the American Ford Foundation 
in Kenya.

Chinhengo’s resignation was filled with political speculation, since most 
judges then were being hounded off the bench on allegations of supporting 
white interests. Among the notable judges who resigned then were Chief 
Justice Antony Gubbay and Justices Fergus Blackie, James Devittie, Michael 
Majuru and Sandra Mungwira.

Meanwhile, Copac spokesperson Jessie Majome said the committee was going 
ahead with the drafting of the supreme law in the Eastern Highlands.
“We have not officially been told of any complaints or threats to pull out. 
Currently, we are going ahead with our mandate after we sorted out the 
misunderstandings that had been made in the public media of late,” Majome 

The constitutional review process is behind schedule having faced a number 
of obstacles ranging from funding to political differences. The coalition 
partners frequently get stuck in their entrenched political ideologies and 
are not ready to compromise even when it seems the logical thing to do.

Zanu PF and the MDC formations have made the constitutional review process 
another battleground for supremacy as they prepare for elections to end the 
current coalition government.



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