SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: New Committee Set Up to Look At Copac Deadlock

The three principals to the GPA have tasked a three member cabinet team with trying to break the COPAC deadlock, as they try to keep negotiations over the new constitution on track.

President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara resolved during their Monday meeting to set up this committee.

It will be made up of three cabinet ministers who will be responsible for devising a way to incorporate submissions from the second All-Stakeholders' Conference on the new Constitution, which was held last month.

The three ministers will be drawn from ZANU PF and the two MDC formations. They will be joined in group discussions by the three COPAC co-chairs; Edward Mkhosi, Douglas Mwonzora and Paul Mangwana.

The move follows a deadlock in which finalization of the draft Constitution was shelved earlier this month following disagreements in the Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) in charge of drafting the governance charter.

George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, told the state media on Monday the committee was only set to deal with areas of disagreement in the Second All-Stakeholders' report.

He said anything that comes out of the committee would first be presented to the leaders in government and leaders of political parties. If they were happy with the report the party leaders would return it to COPAC, for onward transmission to Parliament.

But the setting up of this committee has drawn an angry response from many Zimbabweans who believe it is sheer waste of time coming up with additional structures, on top of COPAC and the management committee.

Dewa Mavhinga, policy research director with the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the principals should just resolve outstanding issues within the framework of the existing structures.

'Is creating another structure the solution? I do not think so. This is sheer waste of time and resources because the buck stops with the principals. Already, too many structures including COPAC, the COPAC Management Committee, Parliament and the people's views through a referendum, are there to be used to deal with issues arising from the draft,' Mavhinga said.

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