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Zimbabwe Parties' Wrangle Over Draft Constitution Escalates

The Zimbabwe Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) tasked with writing the country’s constitution is considering delaying the All-Stakeholders Conference by four days as parties continue to clash on the way forward.

Sources said a major confrontation is looming as principals in the government of national unity have taken over the process. They said there are still serious clashes on documents to be tabled at the conference.

President Robert Mugabe's former ruling Zanu-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira's Movement for Democratic Change have falied to agree on various issues resulting in the parties saying they will bring six documents instead of one for public scrutiny.

The constitution-making process is already three years behind schedule.

COPAC sources told VOA that Zanu-PF has requested that the dates be pushed forward from 17 to 21 October as the Harare International Conference Centre has already been booked for a tourism expo which Zanu-PF officials claim they also want to attend.

Though President Mugabe has indicated that a referendum will be held in November, COPAC sources said it is only realistic to call for a constitutional referendum in December.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s deputy chairwoman Joyce Kazembe has alreadly said they need about US$104 million to organize the referendum.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti maintains that the government has no money to hold the crucial referendum.

Political analyst and Media Centre director Earnest Mudzengi said confusion in COPAC is not surprising as it is run by politicians.