The Herald (Harare)

22 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Copac's Final Draft Expected Today

COPAC is today expected to produce the final draft constitution after drafters incorporated some of the amendments, which the three political parties in Government proposed last week.

The final draft will be taken to Parliament when it resumes sitting in a fortnight.

Copac co-chairperson Cde Munyaradzi Mangwana (Zanu-PF) said they were satisfied with what the drafters had done so far.

"So far, so good. We are still working with the drafters and we are hoping that we will probably finish tomorrow as you may be aware today (yesterday) we spent most of the day at the National Heroes Acre (attending Vice President John Landa Nkomo's burial)," said Cde Mangwana.

"Obviously there are things that can be left out when people are negotiating and that is what we are working on with the drafters."

His MDC-T counterpart Mr Douglas Mwonzora said: "We are reasonably satisfied with what the drafters have done.

"We are going through the draft together with the drafters. We are working on that draft together."

The drafters were given the draft to incorporate some of the agreed amendments by the Principals to the July 18 draft.

After producing the final draft, Copac will take it to Parliament together with their report of the whole constitution-making exercise.

Parliamentarians can only make comments to the draft but cannot alter it.

President Mugabe will then proclaim the date for the referendum where the draft is expected to get a 'Yes Vote' as all the parties in Government support the draft.

National Constitutional Assembly has vowed to campaign for a "No Vote" because politicians had spearheaded the process.

If the majority of Zimbabweans vote in support of the draft, it will then be taken back to Parliament for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga to steer the constitutional Bill.

This stage would be for formal adoption because legislators cannot alter the draft because the people whom they represent in Parliament would have expressed their views during the referendum.

After Parliament adopts the Bill it would be sent to President Mugabe for his assent.

Once the President has assented, the Bill would now become law upon gazetting.

Once there is a new constitution, President Mugabe would proclaim the date for the harmonised elections.

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