20 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Principals Receive Update On Constitution

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

Principals to the Global Political Agreement met yesterday and received an update on the constitution-making process from the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga.

Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba confirmed the meeting.

"The Principals met and one of the key issues discussed relates to the constitution-making process. The meeting involved Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga in order to get clarity on the way forward. The President took note of the Prime Minister's sentiments expressed in Buhera regarding the constitution-making process. He dismissed the statements as sheer politicking given that as Principals they have taken a position. I do not see the President varying on that position. We are in an election mode and there is lots of politicking through the media," he said.

Addressing his supporters in Buhera over the weekend, Mr Tsvangirai intimated that after the Second All-Stakeholders' Conference, the draft constitution would be taken straight to Parliament without going to the Principals.

The Principals are supposed to meet and reconcile issues raised during the Second All-Stakeholders' Conference and the Copac draft.

Mr Charamba said political parties were already preparing for harmonised elections set for March next year.

"All parties from Zanu-PF down to Welshman Ncube's MDC are busy preparing for elections. Please take note that the March dates were initially disclosed at a political meeting namely the Second All-Stakeholders' Conference and the President proceeded to re-state the same in an address to Parliament. That is a formal position given that the President's addresses to Parliament are official utterances," said Mr Charamba.

Earlier Minister Matinenga had told The Herald that political parties were stalling the constitution-making process.

"It is not Copac which is causing the delay. The sooner the political parties are honest and agree that this document was negotiated by all political parties the sooner we go to referendum," he said.

Minister Matinenga said the constitution-making process was a political parties' process.

He said it was the political parties that employed Parliament through a Select Committee to write the constitution.

Minister Matinenga said Copac had since held a Second All-Stakeholders' Conference and prepared a report that should now be taken to Parliament together with the draft constitution.

He said after the draft had been debated in Parliament it would be taken to Cabinet through his ministry where a referendum question would be recommended on the draft.

"When that has been done the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will take over and conduct a referendum. If it is voted yes, the executive through this ministry will table the document as a Constitution Bill in Parliament. If it receives requisite majority it becomes the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the President will assent to it," he said.

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