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Parliamentarians Overhauling Zimbabwe Constitution Pressured for Progress

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Select Committee Deputy Co-Chairperson Gladys Gombami-Dube of the Tsvangirai MDC said the constitutional revision process cannot be finished by the end of 2011, predicting a March 2012 completion date

Divisions are re-surfacing in Zimbabwe's constitutional-revision process as the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe has accused the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of dragging out the process to postpone elections.

ZANU-PF officials want the parliamentary select committee in charge of constitutional revision to wrap up their work so elections can be held in 2011.

ZANU-PF Chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo told Dutch Ambassador to Zimbabwe Barbara Joziasse that the national unity government put in place in February 2009 has run its course and so new elections should be held as soon as possible.

"Our position as a party is that we must conclude the constitution-making process and go to elections. The inclusive Government has failed because our policies with our colleagues in Government are different," Khaya-Moyo said.

"You can't mix water and oil. Our ministers from ZANU-PF are not allowed to travel to Europe and the MDC ministers are allowed to travel around the world and you expect such a government to work. The inclusive government was never meant to be a permanent arrangement and we are now living on borrowed time."

But sources said the select committee will find it tough even to meet its own September deadline, particularly as the actual drafting has not started. In addition the committee has more financial problems: it owes US$5 million to hotels and other vendors who provided services for the disorganized and often over-budget public outreach phase.

The ZANU-PF co-chairman of the select committee, Paul Mangwana, says the process can still be finished on time so long as sufficient financial resources are provided.

Mangwana told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that he agrees with party chairman Moyo that the MDC is dragging its feet to avoid facing elections this year.

But Committee Deputy Co-Chairperson Gladys Gombami-Dube of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said it’s just not possible for the constitution-making process to wrap-up before the end of the year, predicting that it is more likely to take until March 2012.

Select Committee Co-Chairman Edward Mkhosi of the MDC formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said US$2 million is needed to move forward.

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that early elections are not the solution to the country’s problems.

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