The chairman of Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly, Lovemore Madhuku says he will seek an extension of his mandate if a referendum on the new constitution being drafted is not held before his term expires in December, drawing criticism.
“There would be no change of leadership until after the referendum," Madhuku told VOA Studio 7 reporter Chris Gande. "It will be only after that I will hand over power to another person and that is unanimous within the NCA,” he added.
But Madhuku’s position has displeased some members of the civic group who say he is repeating his maneuver of 2006 in which he declined to make way for a new leader. The group’s constitution says a chairman may only serve two terms of five years each.
NCA founding member John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science professor, accused Madhuku of clinging to power like President Robert Mugabe.
The NCA has refused to take part in the constitutional revision process, objecting to the control of the process by a parliamentary select committee and political parties.
The non-governmental organization says it will encourage a "No" vote in the referendum on the draft constitution which is expected to be held later this year.