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Another Snag for Zimbabwe's Stop-and-Go Constitutional Revision Process


Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Constitutional Revision told VOA that the UNDP had promised to US$21 million for the process, but now wants Harare to cover 30 percent of costs

Zimbabwe's often-interrupted constitutional revision process has hit another snag with Parliament saying the United Nations Development Program, a key donor, is asking Harare to cover 30 percent of costs.

Co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Constitutional Revision told VOA that although the UNDP had promised to bring US$21 million to the table, it now wants the government to cover 30 percent in cash or in kind.

He quoted UNDP officials, who are coordinating general donor support of the constitutional rewrite, as saying this would show government commitment to the process.

VOA could not reach UNDP officials for confirmation or comment of Mwonzora's account.

The lawmaker told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that a meeting was set for Wednesday between his committee and UNDP officials to discuss finances, but he noted that the delays are starting to add up.

Under the timetable spelled out in the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing in Zimbabwe, the revision of the constitution is supposed to be completed with the draft ready for a referendum by October 2010 - but that deadline seems likely to be missed.

Political wrangling - not only between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, but also between Parliament and elements of civil society who say politicians should not be given oversight of the redrafting - has repeatedly halted progress.

Donors are said to have expressed concern at the cost of the exercise, and to have insisted on accountability and transparency in the use of funds.

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