8 October 2012

Zimbabwe: Zuma's Faciliation Team Back in Harare

Photo: Buanews
File photo: President Jacob Zuma, center, with President Robert Mugabe, right, on a previous working visit to Zimbabwe.

President Jacob Zuma's facilitation team landed in Harare on Monday for briefings on the progress of the finalization of a new constitution, a condition for the holding of elections.

Progress on the new charter was stalled for over a month as parties in the GPA were wrangling over its contents. This was despite the fact that party negotiators and COPAC representatives had signed and agreed to a draft released on 18th July.

Mac Maharaj, who is part of the team that flew into Harare, told SW Radio Africa that they were in the country as part of their ongoing facilitation efforts.

'We will be here (Harare) for a day or two working with all parties and getting to know what they have agreed, in as far as the constitution making process is concerned,' Maharaj said.

President Zuma and his facilitation team's focus has been on the crafting of the new constitution which is expected to bring about some electoral reforms. So far both MDC parties have endorsed the draft constitution, while ZANU PF has indicated it wants extensive amendments during the second all stakeholders conference, slated for 21st-23rd October at the Rainbow Towers conference centre.

Last week the three political parties agreed on the number of participants at the conference. Their combined number of delegates, including their parliamentarians, will be slightly less than the civil society delegates. 530 will come from the political parties and 571 from civil society.

There are reports suggesting COPAC will submit to the conference the current draft and an interim national statistical report, as well as five other documents with views from the national outreach, the Diaspora, institutions, and children and people living with disabilities.

COPAC has stressed this will not be a drafting conference, but will focus on comments and recommendations on the draft from the stakeholders, which will then be incorporated into a report for consideration. Civil society, diplomats, the judiciary, local and international media, and all other interested stakeholders, will be allowed to observe the process.

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