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Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Negotiators Step Into Constitutional Funding Discussion


Following a detailed accounting of spending on training and other activities the UNDP agreed to continue its funding of the constitutional exercise, sources within the parliamentary-led constitutional redrafting project said

Negotiators for the three parties in Zimbabwe's unity government stepped into discussions Wednesday with United Nations officials called to resolve questions over the cost for the country's constitutional revision process, leading to a resolution which allowed the process to move forward, sources said.

The public outreach phase of the national constitutional revision process was stalled after the United Nations Development Program, a key donor, asked for clarification on the costs of a recent series of training workshops.

Following a detailed accounting of spending on training and other activities the UNDP agreed to continue its funding of the constitutional exercise, sources within the parliamentary-led constitutional redrafting project said.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma and Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube, all three negotiators for the unity government parties, met with the UNDP to clarify expenditures, said sources informed on the meeting.

The UNDP had expressed concerns after being presented with a US$930,000 bill for workshops held recently to train outreach workers.

The select parliamentary committee responsible for revising the constitution had itself voiced concern that the UNDP was intruding into the process because it had proposed sending a consultant to recommend discussion points for the process of soliciting comment by Zimbabweans on the draft.

Select Committee Co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that today’s meeting had amicably resolved all of the issues that had arisen, and the process was now on track.

Meanwhile, three prominent civil society organisations have set up an independent organization to monitor the process of revising the constitution to make sure that it is "people-driven" and not politically manipulated.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika reported that the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the Zimbabwe Association of Lawyers for Human Rights and the Zimbabwe Peace Project were jointly taking on the monitoring brief.

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