11 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Copac Committee Meets Tuesday to Study Proposals

Photo: Parliament of Zimbabwe
Parliament of Zimbabwe

The Cabinet Committee appointed to finalize the drawing up of a new constitution will meet on Tuesday next week to look at proposals crafted by COPAC co-chairmen.

The committee postponed its meeting on Thursday because one of the key members, MDC-T's Tendai Biti, is in London attending a Zimbabwe-Investment forum meeting. The chairman of the committee, Eric Matinenga, the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs is also on leave but reportedly in Harare.

There has been an outcry at the slow pace of progress to conclude the constitution and Zimbabweans are concerned at the fact that many of the delays are caused by the absence of key figures in the discussions.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa they will submit their proposals to a full committee on Tuesday when everybody is present.

'Biti will be back in the country on Sunday, therefore we've scheduled our meeting for Tuesday next week. We couldn't go ahead with the meeting on Thursday because he's (Biti) a major player in the constitution making process,' Mwonzora said.

The COPAC co-chairmen have reported progress in their efforts to overcome differences holding up the finalization of the country's new constitution.

It appears all the sides have made concessions on the four occasions the co-chairmen have met in the last two weeks. There have reportedly been 'intense' discussions to remove remaining obstacles to the constitution making process.

The process ran into significant difficulties last year with all parties failing to agree with six chapters dealing with the devolution of power, executive authority, national prosecuting authority, peace and reconciliation commission, land committee and running mates.

But the co-chairmen reportedly managed to iron out everything, with the exception of the issue of running mates. This has raised the hope that there could be a breakthrough soon if the Cabinet committee endorses the proposals.

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