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Zimbabwe Constitutional Revision Process Hits Bump in Parliamentary Road

Zimbabwean parliamentarians of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party Thursday threw the country's constitutional revision process into disarray by refusing to join a program slated for launch on Saturday to involve the public in the basic document rewrite.

ZANU-PF House members met in caucus Wednesday and resolved not to join the outreach program saying it is not funded and that parliament is not prepared for it.

Parliament's select committee on the constitution, which at present includes representatives of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and the rival grouping of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, met Thursday to try to defuse the crisis.

Complicating matters, ZANU-PF sources said President Mugabe has instructed them to refer to the so-called Kariba draft constitution, which the MDC wants to set aside.

Sources privy to the parliamentary discussion told VOA that the meeting was heated but it was resolved that the outreach program's launch be deferred by at least a week.

Political analyst Charles Mangngera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the latest turn in the constitutional process risks undermining Mr. Tsvangirai’s fundraising efforts as it could be seen as a democratic setback.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...