The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Government Confident On 'Yes' Vote

Government is confident the draft Constitution will receive an overwhelming "Yes" vote as it has the support of all parties in the inclusive Government.

Officially opening the 28th Session of the Zimbabwe/Zambia Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security in Victoria Falls today, State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said despite concerted efforts by a few rogue non-governmental organisations to discredit the process, the draft constitution was expected to sail through the referendum.

Minister Sekeramayi said the peaceful environment that has characterised the Constitution-making process would prevail right up to the post election period.

"Zimbabwe has registered tremendous positive transformation since our last meeting in Zambia. The inclusive Government continues to function well, thanks to the will and commitment of the Zimbabwean people and the support rendered by Sadc and the AU. The constitution making process is almost complete with 16 March 2013 having been gazetted as the date for the referendum.

"The draft Constitution is expected to be adopted as it has the support of all major political parties, despite concerted efforts by a few rogue NGO's to discredit the process. The adoption of the Constitution will be followed by the holding of election. We expect the calm political environment that has characterised the constitution making process to continue right up to the post election period."

Minister Sekeramayi said Zimbabwe and Zambia were seized with threats like poaching and human trafficking which he said needed the efforts of both countries to be curbed.

"Our security is threatened by transnational organised syndicates that are engaged in poaching, human and drug trafficking, money laundering and smuggling. It is my hope that our deliberations will culminate in workable programmes to mitigate these challenges," he said.

He said the two countries shared strong historical, economic, social and political ties that were underpinned and galvanized by the existing cordial bilateral relations.

"The holding of these meetings on a regular basis is a clear testimony of these cordial and fraternal relations between the two countries. It is this fraternal bond that made us jointly win the bid to co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly which takes place here in Victoria Falls and Livingstone in August this year."

Minister Sekeramayi said there was need to uphold the peace enjoyed in both countries.

"Peace cannot be kept by force but by understanding. We also need to take advantage of the abundant natural resources and the competitive capacities between our two countries as we seek to further consolidate our economic ties."

JPCDS co-chairperson and Zambian Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba said the continued holding of the bilateral meetings demonstrated the two governments' commitment to maintaining cordial relations that exist between the two countries.

"Further I wish to state that these sessions provide an opportunity to jointly formulate new strategies to address various challenges affecting our countries such as illegal migration, poaching, drug and human trafficking as well as other cross border crimes."

"However, this requires the commitment of our respective defence and security institutions to the implementation of the resolutions of the Joint Permanent Commission. It is in this regard that I wish to re-affirm Zambia's commitment to this commission," he said.

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