1 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Copac Adopts Revised Draft

THE 25-member Parliamentary Select Committee has formally adopted the revised draft Constitution, marking the end of the drafting phase of Zimbabwe's new supreme law. The committee is now finalising a report that will accompany the draft to Parliament on Tuesday.

Copac co-chairperson Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana told journalists yesterday that they would steer a motion next Tuesday seeking permission to present the draft.

"It is our hope that after the motion, Parliament will permit us to present our reports on Wednesday," he said.

Once the draft is adopted by Parliament, a publicity campaign to inform and educate Zimbabweans on its contents would begin.

Copac will distribute copies of the draft throughout the districts in 11 local languages and Braille

The final activity is expected to be completed in about a month and by then the principals are expected to have announced the date of the referendum.

Cde Mangwana said about US$500 000 was needed to translate and disseminate the draft.

He said the money was available.

"We had engaged translators after the initial July 18 draft, meaning the resources are available Part of that money comes form the UNDP basket and whenever there is a shortfall Government would meet it."

Cde Mangwana said in adopting the draft, Copac had scrutinised each chapter and clause.

The principals assisted in resolving the outstanding issues and it means the issues had to be incorporated into the draft.

"In doing so, there was need to be careful because a change in one chapter might affect another chapter," he said.

Copac co-chairperson, Mr Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) thanked the principals for resolving all the sticky issues.

"Their support to Copac throughout the process has been invaluable. The unity of purpose for all Zimbabweans has been clearly demonstrated in the process where it has been shown that where there is a will, there is indeed a way.

Zimbabweans have risen above their political differences to remove the hurdles that had threatened to stall the process," he said.

He said Copac was optimistic that the referendum would yield a "yes" vote.

"This is a people's document and the onus is on them to support or reject it."

MDC Copac co-chair Mr Edward Mkhosi said they would ensure every Zimbabwean understood the contents of the draft.

"It is important that they get educated adequately and we are going to do that with various stakeholders.Despite the propaganda in the media, mainly because of misinformation we have managed to put aside our differences and the document is now there," he said.

Principals to the Global Political Agreement last week brought to an end haggling among the political parties in the inclusive Government by resolving all the outstanding issues.

Zanu-PF had rejected the draft Constitution released by Copac in July last year, arguing that the draft did not correspond with views gathered from the generality of Zimbabweans during the outreach programme.

The impasse led to the setting up of a Cabinet committee of seven, made up of the Copac co-chairpersons and negotiators to the Global Political Agreement.

All the parties have endorsed the document and pledged to campaign for the draft Constitution's adoption at the referendum.

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