Zim ready for referendum
Harare – Zimbabweans are likely to vote on a proposed new constitution next month.
The plebiscite comes two-and-a-half years behind schedule.
This past week, both Houses of Parliament adopted the draft constitution, paving the way for a referendum.
The three parties in the coalition government (ZANU-PF, MDC-T and MDC) are all campaigning for the electorate to approve the draft.
But whether or not the electorate gives the draft the thumbs up, Zimbabwe will have a general election to possibly end the coalition government formed in 2009.
The draft should have been ready mid-2010, but financial constraints and haggling among political parties have delayed the process. This prompted the leaders of the coalition partners to intervene in January, and within a week they had thrashed out the issues and released a draft for Parliamentary inspection.
Speaking in the House of Assembly, Douglas Mwonzora – representing MDC-T – said, “We went through various problems, but did not lose heart because we were doing it for our country…
“After this we intend to embark on a massive civic education exercise so that the people of Zimbabwe appreciate what this document says.”
His ZANU-PF counterpart, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said the outcome, though delayed, showed that Zimbabweans could solve their own issues amicably.
“I must say this constitutional process must go down as one of the processes which brought national healing to our country.”
He said the process has gobbled US$45.7 million, with the government providing US$24.7m and the rest coming from donors.
“People will ask me why (we spent that much), but I will say democracy is expensive, people have lost lives for democracy and we have only spent money.
“I am happy to say it was money well-spent and every cent has been accounted for,” he said.
MDC’s Edward Mkhosi commended the party leaders for bringing finality to the matter.
“Their presence at the centre made the difference. We were able to go out as sons and daughters of the same mother.
“Even when the first draft was produced, the process almost collapsed because of differences, but again they rescued it.”