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Zimbabwe House Speaker Urges Civic Role in Drafting Constitution

Zimbabwean House Speaker Lovemore Moyo on Monday urged civic groups to cooperate with a parliamentary select committee named Sunday to lead drafting of a new constitution, saying that those who choose to boycott the process, as some have threatened, will miss out on the formulation of a truly democratic, people-driven constitution.

Moyo took issue with civil society groups such as the National Constitutional Assembly, which are opposed to the idea of parliament leading the revision process. He said parliament was qualified to undertake this task as it represents the majority of Zimbabweans.

Sunday he announced a special committee with 25 members drawn from the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change and the former majority ZANU-PF party. He said additional members representing civil society will be appointed next month.

But civil society sources say a number of organizations led by the NCA have resolved to refuse to name representatives to the parliamentary panel.

Moyo told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe Moyo said there is no going back as lawmakers are merely adhering to the existing constitution.

The NCA has said it will not join the government-appointed panel, calling for the naming of an independent commission to take up the task. The group for years has been calling for a "people-driven constitution" as the solution to Zimbabwe's ills.

This weekend the NCA launched a program it called "Take Charge" which intended to raise popular awareness of current constitutional issues.

NCA director Earnest Mudzengi told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that while his organization is opposed to parliament leading the constitution-making process, it won't run a parallel process to the one that the government has undertaken.

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