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Mugabe Threatens to Take Charge of Stalled New Constitution Process

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe expressed frustration in cabinet Tuesday with the slow pace of the new constitution making process and demanded that the incomplete draft be handed over to the principals at the end of the week.

Cabinet sources told VOA that Mr Mugabe made the remarks after parliamentary and constitutional affairs minister Eric Matinenga presented his report to cabinet on the state of the new constitution.

The new constitutional effort started three years ago and has stalled several times due to disagreements among the three political parties in the unity government.

The parliamentary select committee and the management committee were supposed to meet this week to discuss a 29 page document tabled by Zanu PF that analysts say would have altered the draft as the party backtracks on a number of issues such as the powers of the president and the attorney general that had been agreed by the parties.

The meeting has been postponed to next week. But sources say it hangs in the balance as it remains unclear whether Mr Mugabe now wants the principals to take charge of the process.

Hardliners in Mr Mugabe's former ruling Zany-PF party and senior army officials backing him are said to be demanding that Mr Mugabe take charge as Copac is delaying the process to frustrate calls for elections this year.

Matinenga told VOA that Mr Mugabe's demands are unrealistic.