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Zimbabwe Constitutional Revision Process Stirs Multi-Sided  Controversy

  • Gibbs Dube
  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Lines are being drawn among Zimbabwe's civic organizations and between some civil society groups and parliament over how to draft the country's new constitution.

Some non-governmental organizations have lined up behind the National Constitutional Assembly, whose main focus is constitutional reform and has challenged the parliament's plans to take the lead in rewriting the country's basic document.

But there is far from unanimity among NGOs on the question.

Other non-governmental organizations such as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Zimbabwe National Students Union and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition are expected to meet this week to decide where they stand.

Backing the NCA are the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Students Union. However, Christian Alliance spokesman Useni Sibanda said his group backs the parliamentary process.

Spokesman Fambai Ngirande of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations told reporter Gibbs Dube of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the NCA and the government should work together to ensure that the process is "people-driven," as the NCA desires.

Despite the opposition expressed by some in civil society, the government said the process is all-inclusive because lawmakers represent the people.

But a senior official of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said that if the government is in charge of the process, the new constitution will differ little from the existing one.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the select committee is representing all Zimbabweans regardless of their affiliations.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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