9 May 2012

Zimbabwe: Calls to Disband Copac Mount

THE Copac draft has many irregularities that will have undesirable consequences if confirmed as the supreme law of the country, legal experts said yesterday.

They called for the total disbandment of the Copac process and the holding of elections under the current Constitution, saying the draft seeks to decimate the country's post-independence history to pave way for the MDC-T's envisaged "new Zimbabwe".

Church leaders also weighed in, saying the input they gave during the outreach programme was left out of the draft constitution as the process had turned out to be a battle between Zanu-PF and the MDC formations, a development they described as untenable.

They, too, called for the disbandment of Copac and the rescuing of the constitution-making process.

Apart from the issue of gay rights, some of the contentious issues include a clause on founding provisions on the national flag, national anthem, public seal and the coat of arms.

The draft says: "Zimbabwe must have a national flag, a national anthem, a coat of arms and public seal, details of which are to be prescribed in an Act of Parliament."

Legal experts said the provision portrays Zimbabwe as a country that has just attained independence.

The draft also defines the next elections, Executive and Parliament, as the first as if the country has not held elections since 1980.

University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and National Constitutional Assembly chairman Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the drafting had been done poorly.

"The draft must recognise that the national flag, national anthem, coat of arms and public seal already exist," Prof Madhuku said.

"It's an ignorant way of drafting. It's unfortunate that they (Copac) didn't tap into the constitutional experts throughout the country and because of that, their limitations have come to the fore."

Prof Madhuku said the drafters should not have indicated the next elections, Executive and Parliament as the first as if the country was just emerging from decolonisation.

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