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Zimbabwe Civic Groups Break With Opposition On Constitutional Issues


Some Zimbabwean civic groups are rejecting a draft constitution said to have emerged from crisis resolution talks between the ruling party and the opposition because, they argue, the document does not reflects the wishes of the Zimbabwean people.

About 20 civic leaders met in Harare Tuesday to compile the results of meetings held recently on the South African-mediated crisis talks amid reports a draft constitution is afoot - as both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change have confirmed.

The draft constitution, reportedly assembled by MDC and ZANU-PF negotiators on a houseboat in Kariba, on the Zambezi River, is said to have been compiled from drafts produced not only by the political parties but by a leading civil society group.

Many in civil society were incensed in September when the opposition voted with the ruling party in parliament to pass a constitutional amendment which made important changes in the electoral dispensation, including a provision which allows parliament to choose a new president in the event of resignation, death or incapacitation.

Support for that amendment by the Movement for Democratic Change emerged from the Pretoria talks, engendering distrust of that forum on the part of civic leaders who have demanded greater transparency and disclosure to all stakeholders.

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku told reporter Patience Rusere that civic groups and MDC leaders no longer share the same perspective on important issues and can no longer collaborate on constitutional matters.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...