Zim seeks constitution breakthrough

Harare – The leaders of Zimbabwe’s three political parties in the coalition government last week agreed to form a Cabinet committee to thrash out disagreements in the constitution-making process.
The committee, nominated by all the parties, will deal with contentious issues arising from the Second All-Stakeholders meeting report.
The co-chairs of the Parliamentary Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) will join three Cabinet ministers with Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Eric Matinenga, being the convener and chairperson of the new body.
Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, this past week said the new committee would not substitute the Parliamentary body.
“Minister Matinenga was tasked by leaders of political parties to look at the whole document (Second All-Stakeholders’ substantive report) with a view to recommending a way forward to the principals…
“The minister recommended that a mechanism outside the Parliamentary process should be found by the three political parties to resolve the contested matters.
“The leaders of the political parties agreed that each political party nominates a member from Cabinet who will sit on the committee that will work expeditiously towards a resolution on the contested issues,” he said.
Charamba said the product of that committee would be presented to the coalition leaders before transmitting it to Parliament for debate.
Before the meeting of leaders of political parties that include President Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube, there was a routine meeting of principals that included Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, except Ncube.
Although Charamba refused to divulge the contents of the substantive report, he said it was divided into three notable parts.
The first part, he said, covers provisions in the draft that everyone is in agreement with; the second part covers areas that raised comments but not disagreements; while the last part deals with contentious issues.
Minister Matinenga confirmed he presented his recommendations to party principals.
The development is a slap in the face of the two MDC formations in the coalition who had tried to freeze party principals out of the constitution-making process.
The MDCs have agreed to much of the draft, while ZANU-PF has objected to devolution of power, legalising homosexuality and eroding the power of the Executive President.

December 2012
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