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Zimbabwe Minister Rules Out New Draft Charter in Near Future

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Zimbabwe's Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga says it is impossible for the select committee responsible for writing the country’s new charter to deliver a draft to the principals in the next week citing sticky outstanding issues remain.

The management committee, which comprises negotiators from the three political parties in the coalition government, is expected to meet soon to discuss these issues that include devolution, the death sentence and dual citizenship.

The cabinet on Tuesday is said to have unanimously agreed with the unity government principals that the select committee should hastily deliver a copy of the draft, urging Matinenga to follow-up and see to it that this is done by next week.

But Matinenga tells VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that major disagreements between ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations in the unity government over the issues of dual citizenship, devolution and executive powers are delaying the whole process.

Meanwhile, human rights defenders are challenging the select committee writing the country’s new charter to abolish the death penalty from the new constitution.

In an open letter to leaders of the three main political parties leading the constitutional revision exercise, Amnesty International is pushing Harare to outlaw the death penalty saying capital punishment violates people’s right to life.

Last month the management committee unanimously agreed that the death penalty should be abolished but left a clause for people found guilty of aggravated murder to be put to death.

Regional researcher Simeon Mawanza of Amnesty International told VOA's Tatenda Gumbo the abolition of the death penalty will be a clear indication that Zimbabwe is prepared to promote people’s rights and defend the bill of rights.