14 February 2013

Zimbabwe Sets March 16 for Referendum

Photo: IRIN
Hope in Harare.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, announced yesterday that Government has tentatively set March 16, 2013 as the date for the referendum on the draft Constitution which has been endorsed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Zimbabweans will be required to vote for a law that would set presidential term limits and abolish the head of state's immunity for the first time. The law would also set the stage for them to face off in a presidential election, which Tsvangirai revealed would be held in July in tandem with a legislative vote, although he gave no precise date.

Minister Matinenga said the referendum was likely to be held over two days if principals in the inclusive Government accepted his proposal, as it would allow people to express their will. He added that his ministry had started publicity campaigns countrywide to explain the contents of the draft constitution to the people and expressed hope that at least two meetings will be held in every province.

According to him, the draft Constitution would be publicised in the Government Gazette for wider publicity, "Any document of this nature must be officially publicized. Our intention as a ministry is to have this draft published on Friday (tomorrow) so that at least from a legal point of view it becomes a publication for the whole world."

Minister Matinenga said after the referendum, the draft would be taken back to Parliament to constitutionalise the Constitution Bill, adding that the publicity campaign for the draft constitution would end on March 1 after which they would not entertain any new proposals.

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