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Zimbabwe’s Draft Constitution Delivered to Government

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In Zimbabwe, a parliament committee drafting a new constitution has finally submitted it to the government, almost two years behind schedule. It is not yet clear when a referendum on the draft constitution would be held to pave the way for polls to end Zimbabwe's fragile, three-year-old coalition government.

In an interview, Douglas Mwonzora, the co-leader of COPAC - the committee which has been drafting Zimbabwe’s new constitution - says the government received the draft constitution this week.

"COPAC handed over the draft constitution to the management committee," he said. "The management committee accepted that document. We can say that we are very, very much close[r] to a new constitution in Zimbabwe."

The management committee Douglas Mwonzora is referring to is comprised of ministers who are overseeing the work of the drafting committee.

Zimbabwe’s draft constitution was originally scheduled to go before voters in a referendum last July. The constitution is to replace the one which the country has been using since 1980 when Zimbabwe won independence from Britain.

When President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a very uneasy power-sharing government in 2009, regional leaders said there must be a new constitution before new polls are held.

Mwonzora says he has no idea of when the document will go before the voters.

"Unfortunately we could not decide the date the for the second stakeholder meeting and the referendum until we have factored in the issues that were outstanding," he said.

The matters Mwonzora was referring to include issues of dual citizenship and the death penalty, which the committee has left to Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s representatives for a final decision.



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