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COPAC Denies Draft Constitution Changes

The management committee tasked with working on Zimbabwe's new constitution over the weekend says it has made some “clarifications” to the document, mainly on chapters that set the electoral boundaries of constituencies and wards.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga confirmed the changes to Studio 7 but stressed that the changes to sections 158, 160 and 161 of the draft constitution will not affect what 95 percent of voters approved on March 16 and will only affect future elections, not general elections expected later this year.

The charter was presented to parliament and gazzetted last week.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper Monday reported that Mr. Matinenga’s changes were illegal as they were made to suit the MDC party agenda to defer elections until after the current parliamentary term ends.

Echoing Matinenga, constitution select committee co-chairman and MDC-T official Douglas Mwonzora said the changes made are not significant, "and only clarify" statements in the draft.

Mr. Mwonzora said the changes were made with the approval of all the parties that drafted the new constitution.
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The other COPAC co-chairman, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana of Zanu-PF called the changes to the document merely a “sprucing up,” adding that 'they were not significant enough to require the consent of President Mugabe".
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