14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Cabinet Team Hits Deadlock

THE Cabinet committee charged with breaking the deadlock in the Constitution-making process yesterday failed to resolve contentious issues stalling the process. The committee reconvenes next Monday to continue with negotiations.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, who chairs the committee, confirmed the meeting.

"We met today (yesterday) but it is work in progress. We are meeting again on Monday, but something positive is happening," he said.

Although he declined to divulge specific issues that were discussed, Minister Matinenga said the committee had made progress.

He said party representatives in the committee brought their positions on the Second All Stakeholders' Conference report.

Copac co-chairperson Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana referred all questions to Minister Matinenga, but said: "There was progress, but we will meet again on Monday to continue with the work."

The Constitution-making process that was expected to take about 18 months has taken over three years because of bickering among political parties. The committee is expected to make its submissions to the principals who have the final say on the draft before it is taken to Parliament.

The leaner committee also comprises Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Regional Integration and International Co-operation Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Copac co-chairpersons Cde Mangwana, Mr Douglas Mwonzora and Mr Edward Mkhosi.

Political parties in Government were given an opportunity to audit the Copac draft. The MDC formations endorsed the draft in its entirety, but Zanu-PF proposed amendments.

The revolutionary party argued that the draft had deviated from people's views gathered during the outreach programme.

MDC formations argued the amendments could not be effected before the Second All Stakeholders' Conference.

However, after the conference MDC formations changed goal posts, claiming the proposed amendments could not be considered if there was no consensus among delegates at the stakeholders' conference.

Contentious issues from the conference include devolution, which the MDC formations want included in the Constitution while Zanu-PF prefers decentralisation.

The parties also differ on dual citizenship that MDC formations want, but Zanu-PF is against this, insisting that the people were clear that they did not want it during the outreach.

MDC formations want changes in the security and judicial sectors but Zanu-PF says the status quo should be retained as demanded by the people.

The three parties also differ on presidential powers with MDC formations preferring a titular President while Zanu-PF says the country should have an executive President as preferred by the majority of people during the outreach.

MDC formations have mainly been basing their preferences on "international best practices" while Zanu-PF used the outreach national report that outlines the number of times an issue was raised.

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