The Herald (Harare)

8 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Politburo to Discuss Constitution-Making

ZANU-PF's first Politburo meeting this year is expected to deliberate on, among other issues, matters stalling the finalisation of the constitution-making process, party spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo has said.

He said Zanu-PF was expected to brainstorm and come up with a position over the sticky issues.

Cde Gumbo said the continued delay in finalising the envisaged new Constitution was disturbing.

"It's definite the first Politburo meeting will discuss the delays in finalising the constitution-making process.

"Our point persons, Cde Patrick Chinamasa and Cde Paul Mangwana, are expected to brief the Politburo on how far the process has gone so far.

"As a party, until we meet as the Politburo, there is nothing we can do. The dates for the Politburo meeting have not been set, but as soon as the President (Mugabe) is back at work we will meet, probably during the first week of February," he said.

Cde Gumbo said it was disturbing to note that some members in the committee to iron out contentious issues were delaying the process in order to line their pockets.

Thirty issues were raised during the Second All Stakeholders' Conference in October last year and a seven-member Cabinet committee was charged with ironing them out.

The seven-member committee includes Cdes Chinamasa and Mangwana (Zanu-PF), Mr Tendai Biti and Mr Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T), Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga and Edward Mkhosi from MDC.

It is chaired by Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga.

However, four months down the line, the committee is battling with the matter and are yet to have common ground on so many issues.

The full Cabinet committee charged with the ironing out of the contentious issues around the draft constitution is expected to meet this week amid reports that the Copac co-chairs have come up with a strategy to whittle down the 30 outstanding issues to three.

Recently Zanu-PF co-chair Cde Mangwana said he met his counterparts from the MDC formations during the holidays and found common ground on many issues.

He said they had reduced the number of issues to devolution, the composition of the constitutional court and the prosecution powers of the Attorney General, which will be tabled before the ministers.

Cde Gumbo said most of the matters the committee was failing to find common ground on were foreign sponsored.

"These issues are not supported by Zimbabweans . . . I think it is difficult for people who are pushing for devolution to win. Personally I think there is no way devolution will be incorporated into the new constitution. Zimbabwe is too small a country and you will be destroying it by dismembering it.

As a party, we have to guard against that. By the time we have our politburo meeting, I am sure the principals will have ironed out the matter," he said.

Cde Gumbo said Zanu-PF had been concerned with the slow pace at which the constitution-making process was progressing.

He said the party lauded President Mugabe when he gave the Cabinet committee handling the outstanding issue to solve the impasse by Christmas, failure of which he would be compelled to dissolve Parliament and proclaim dates for elections.

"These people are not predictable and if they fail to deal with the issues soon, we expect the principals to take over the process" he said.

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