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Zimbabwe Civic Group Urges Major Overhaul of Troubled Constitutional Process


The National Constitutional Assembly said the Movement for Democratic Change should demand that the parliamentary led process, which the civic group said is fatally flawed, be set aside giving way to an independent commission

Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly, a prominent non-governmental organization, on Wednesday urged the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai seek dissolution of the parliamentary committee currently in charge of revising the country's constitution in favor of a broader commission.

Mr. Tsvangirai's party issued a statement on Tuesday saying the constitutional revision process had become a "circus" and calling for talks among the heads of the three governing parties - besides Mr. Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - to put the exercise back on track.

The MDC statement noted that the process has been marred by disorganization, intimidation and violence.

But the NCA said the Tsvangirai MDC formation should go further and demand the parliamentary led process, which the civic group said is fatally flawed, be set aside so that an independent commission can take charge.

NCA spokesman Maddock Chivasa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that his group does not endorse the MDC proposal for the main political parties to decide the way forward at this point.

The MDC responded that the existing process to continue as it was spelled out in the Global Political Agreement of September 2008 that laid the groundwork for the unity government put in place in February 2009 and tasked with putting a new constitution in place as the basis for new elections following an abortive March 2008 ballot.

MDC spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo said the unity government principals should meet to map the way forward and if they cannot resolve matters will take the issue up with the Southern African Development Community. SADC, with the African Union, is a guarantor of the power-sharing arrangement and has mediated in various crises.

Youth Democracy Initiative for Zimbabwe Director Sidney Chisi commented that the country risks being left with the present constitution dating from the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement and often amended since then.

Chisi said the MDC proposal for a political deal to fix the process is not a viable strategy at this point.

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