19 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Draft Constitution Ready for Public Scrutiny - Biti

Photo: IRIN
Zimbabweans have been waiting for a new constitution for almost three years.

Drafting of the new Constitution has been completed and the document is ready for public scrutiny at the Second All Stakeholders' Conference, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said yesterday. Minister Biti made the announcement while presenting the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement in the House of Assembly.

The process of drafting a new Constitution, which started over two years ago, was delayed due to disagreements among the parties. Once adopted, the new supreme law will guide the country to the next general elections, terminating the life of the inclusive Government, which has been in place since 2009.

"I am pleased to advise that at long last the Constitutional draft is now available after years of intense processes," said Minister Biti.

"I have no doubt in my mind that it is a critical document that is founded on solid, modern jurisprudential principles."

Minister Biti, who is also the secretary-general of the MDC-T, said the inclusive Government and development partners should now mobilise resources to fund the remaining processes.

The new constitution will be scrutinised by a Second All Stakeholders' Conference and then taken to a referendum.

"I hope this nation will find it within its conscience the obligation to express gratitude to Copac, this Parliament, ordinary Zimbabweans, the Copac co-chairs and the parties' negotiators constituted as the management committee," said Minister Biti.

"History has been written in the last few weeks."

The Global Political Agreement, which the three major parties in the country signed after the disputed 2008 election, provided for crafting a new Constitution. The new charter is expected to create an environment suitable for holding fresh polls through strengthening democratic institutions.

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