11 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Copac Verification Exercise May Be Complete By Thursday

No fundamental differences have emerged so far in the COPAC verification exercise to synchronise the draft constitution with views brought up during the second All-Stakeholders conference.

A highly placed source told SW Radio Africa that a much leaner COPAC management committee of seven people, appointed recently by the principals to the GPA, met in Harare Tuesday and covered about 75 percent of the issues in the new charter.

However, hurdles are expected to emerge as the team tackles the more contentious issues, like devolution.

'They haven't finished yet but they've covered 75 percent of the work and they will meet Thursday to complete the exercise. What came out of the Tuesday meeting is that there were no fundamental differences that emerged, they almost agreed on everything,' the source added.

Meanwhile SADC regional leaders who met in Dar es Salaam for a two day summit last week urged the political stakeholders to finalise the constitutional process, including the referendum, before the holding of the elections in 2013.

Dr Alex Magaisa, the head of the political unit in the Prime Minister's office, said one of the critical points emerging from the SADC resolution is the fact that the next elections will only be held following the conduct of the constitutional referendum.

'The referendum is the opportunity for the people to decide whether or not they want the new constitution. Therefore, the debate over whether or not the principals have a role in the process is marginal and a distraction because ultimately, the people will have the platform at the referendum to accept or reject the new constitution,' Magaisa wrote on his Facebook page.

He continued: 'The constitutional process includes the referendum and the expectation is that a referendum will be held as part of that process. The GPA requires full implementation and no party should wilfully renege on its undertakings.'

Dr Phillan Zamchiya, the regional coordinator for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the SADC resolution has put paid Robert Mugabe's plans to call for elections before a new constitution is adopted.

He said as members of the civil society organisations in Zimbabwe they view the resolutions as 'very progressive' and that it has been made clear SADC will not endorse an election without set out reforms, including a new constitution.

'Unless they want to risk the wrath of SADC, ZANU PF, who are known to be risk takers, might call for elections without these reforms but that would be suicidal,' Zamchiya said.

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