25 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Judge to Deliver Ruling Wednesday On NCA's Referendum Challenge

Judge President Justice George Chiweshe will on Wednesday deliver his ruling on an urgent chamber application filed by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), which is seeking to stop the referendum set for March 16th.

NCA spokesman Blessing Vava told SW Radio Africa the Judge will look at the merits and de-merits of the application, which President Robert Mugabe has said should be dismissed by the High Court.

The state controlled Herald said Mugabe had, through Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, filed an opposing affidavit arguing that in terms of the Referendums Act, the publication of the referendum date was the prerogative of the President.

Mugabe said it was up to the people of Zimbabwe and not pressure groups like the NCA to decide whether or not to approve the draft constitution, adding that those against the holding of the referendum or the draft constitution were at liberty to campaign for a 'No Vote' rather than stopping the process.

COPAC has meanwhile launched its countrywide campaign to familiarise the people with the draft Constitution ahead of the referendum. SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said translated versions of the draft are also being distributed to all the districts in the country.

He said COPAC officials will address various public meetings targeted at main centres in urban and rural areas.

'There is also an advocacy program being done by the Civil Society Organisations on behalf of COPAC to do so. The NGO's signed a Memorandum of Understanding with COPAC in Harare last week setting the conditions under which they are going to operate and the material they are going to use,' Muchemwa said.

Members of Parliament have also started carrying out publicity campaigns in their respective constituencies.

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