9 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Copac Co-Chairpersons Find Common Ground

Photo: Parliament of Zimbabwe
Parliament of Zimbabwe

COPAC co-chairpersons have reportedly agreed on five of the last six outstanding issues stalling the constitution making process, raising hope that there could be a breakthrough soon if the Cabinet committee endorses the proposals.

The committee charged by the principals with breaking the deadlock is expected to meet tomorrow to consider these proposals and to solve the remaining outstanding issue on running mates.

Copac co-chairperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora (MDCT) said together with his colleagues Cde Paul Mangwana (Zanu-PF) and Mr Edward Mkhosi (MDC) they had found common ground on five issues that remained after the Cabinet committee meeting on December 27, 2012.

"There are six issues that remained outstanding after the Cabinet committee meeting on December 27 and as co-chairpersons we sat throughout the holidays to find ways of unlocking the logjam," said Mr Mwonzora.

"These issues are devolution, national prosecuting authority, executive authority, national peace and reconciliation commission and the one on running mates.

"We agreed on suggestions to unlock five of the issues except the one on running mates. We are still dealing with that. We have managed to resolve these issues at our level. We are going to submit our recommendations to the entire Cabinet committee on Thursday."

Mr Mwonzora said in coming up with the agreements they were guided by what Zimbabweans said during the outreach programme and the Second All-Stakeholders' Conference.

He said all the co-chairpersons were happy with the proposals they came up with while hoping that the Cabinet committee would endorse them.

It is up to the political party representatives in the Cabinet committee to approach their political parties for guidance on the proposals, said Mr Mwonzora.

However, Cde Mangwana said there was no agreement until the Cabinet committee had taken on board the co-chairpersons' proposals.

"There is no agreement until the Cabinet committee set by principals has taken on board the proposals," he said.

"I don't know about the agreement they are talking about but as you may be aware any negotiations involve consultations and proposals and until the committee charged with that process has agreed there is no agreement.

"As things stand, there is no agreement because the Cabinet committee is yet to meet. I am sure the committee will then announce its position after it meets."

Mr Mkhosi said he had not managed to attend some of the meetings by colleagues but indicated that Cde Mangwana and Mr Mwonzora had come up with some proposals to break the deadlock.

"There were slight changes done by Mangwana and Mwonzora with the intention to answer some of the concerns that our principals had. We are waiting for the Cabinet committee meeting to give us guidance and we are obviously hoping to make progress," said Mr Mkhosi.

He said he was hopeful that the contentious issues would be resolved.

However, a source who preferred anonymity said the co-chairpersons had come up with proposals on how to break the deadlock.

"The Cabinet committee will look at those recommendations when it meets on Thursday or sometime early next week. There is a strong possibility that there will be a breakthrough," said the source.

The constitution-making process that was supposed to take 18 months has taken over three years because of bickering among the three political parties spearheading the exercise.

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