ZANU PF's top decision making body ended a marathon meeting about the new constitution in the early hours of Thursday morning, stating it will not accept the draft in its current form.
The Politburo meeting started on Wednesday, amid speculation that Robert Mugabe's party is deliberately stalling on making a decision. This was the fourth meeting since the draft charter was released late last month, with ZANU PF still not taking an official position.
Instead, the meeting ended at about 5am on Thursday with the party insisting that the current draft must be renegotiated. ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said that the party could not accept the draft without changes to several clauses.
"The party is expecting the amendments to be factored in by Wednesday next week, when the politburo meets to finalize its position on the draft constitution," Gumbo said.
ZANU PF's chief negotiator in the constitution reform process, Patrick Chinamasa, said after the last Politburo meeting that once the party executive had reached a final decision on the changes they want, this would be brought before the Constitution Management Committee.
Gumbo meanwhile had previously expressed confidence that ZANU PF's partners in the government would renegotiate, saying: "We cannot afford to see the process come to naught."
But the MDC formations in the unity government have both insisted that the negotiations have been finalised and no more changes can be made to the document. The two parties have thrown their weight behind the draft, both saying they will campaign for a 'yes' vote ahead of a referendum.
Blessing Vava from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that ZANU PF has cleverly manipulated the multiple flaws in the constitution reform process, saying the negotiation loophole is wide open.
"In a negotiated process, a process steered by politicians, we were likely to get such scenarios. This process is flawed and these are the loopholes that have exposed this," Vava said.
He said that negotiating the document was a deviation from the original process that was meant to be people driven and this deviation "left the process open to manipulation and abuse."
"ZANU PF is capitalising on a flawed process... this was never about the constitution, it was about the parties getting their preferred positions in place. And it's very sad for Zimbabwe," Vava said.
The NCA official also said that the MDC formations have been 'duped' by ZANU PF into believing that the document is a good one, despite the draft clearly favouring the ZANU PF position.
"It is ZANU PF that has gained more than the MDC, and all they are doing now is pushing for more concessions," Vava said. He added that it was likely the amendments will be allowed, and soon we will see the Principals in government giving their approval.