News / Africa

Breakthrough Reported in Zimbabwe Constitution Making Process



The Zimbabwe constitution process is set to resume after the parties to the unity government agreed on the issue of official reporters that had stalled the process. 

The Co-chairman of the parliamentary committee in charge of the Zimbabwe constitution process, Douglas Mwonzora, told VOA the parties to the unity government have reached a compromise position.  Two members of each of the 70 outreach teams will now verify the official reports of the consultation meetings the outreach teams will hold.

Mwonzora said the outreach teams would be deployed soon to gather what Zimbabweans want in the country's new charter.

In a related matter, three Zimbabwean organizations close to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change Party say they will campaign for the rejection of any constitution resulting from the current outreach program. 

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Zimbabwe National Students Union and the National Constitutional Assembly say they maintain their stance against the ongoing constitution making process.

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku insists the exercise should have been carried out by an independent body and not by politicians.

"We have struggled for over 12 years as NCA to push the position that we need an independent commission," he said. "That is the position that we still stand by."

Madhuku added that this does not mean the end of the NCA alliance with the Movement for Democratic Change.  But he cautioned the situation would be reviewed should the unity government continue with what he called its neo-liberal policies. 

ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo also dismissed the current constitutional exercise saying he sees nothing acceptable coming out of the process.

"How do you expect people who are fighting every day to come up with a reliable constitution?  So we said you are still fighting.  Until you cease fighting we need to agree to disagree that the process is wrong," he said.

The infighting in the unity government once again made headlines when President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF Party said there would be no progress on implementing the agreement that brought about the unity government unless the MDC calls for a lifting of the travel bans and other measures imposed on Mr. Mugabe, some ranking members of his party and companies close to Zanu-PF for alleged human rights abuses. 

But MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Zanu-PF brought the sanctions upon themselves by being undemocratic and perpetrating acts of violence on the people of Zimbabwe.

"We do appreciate that Zanu-PF have sinned by way of omission and commission in the past, and these issues are the ones that have brought about that bi-lateral issues between them and those that imposed those measures," he said.

Chamisa said the MDC would only call for the lifting of the measures once Zanu-PF sticks to the agreement that brought about the government.  He said then the parties could speak with one voice.

The British ambassador in Harare, Michael Canning, issued a statement saying the sanctions were not MDC measures, rather they were European Union measures.  He said the key to having restrictive measures eased or lifted is for those in Zimbabwe who are resisting progress to implement the commitments to reform they agreed to in the so-called Global Political Agreement. 

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