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Zimbabwe's Crucial Constitution Indaba Set For October

The parliamentary select committee overseeing the drafting of Zimbabwe's new constitution met in Harare Thursday and agreed to hold the country's crucial second all-stakeholders conference next month with just over 1,000 delegates.

Committee co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the conference will discuss the draft constitution between 4 and 6 October.

Mwonzora said the committee also agreed to cut the number of delegates from the previously agreed 2,200 to 1,100 with the three political parties in the coalition government each sending 246 participants while civil society will provide the rest.

Progress in tabling the draft charter was being hampered by divisions between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and the two MDC formations over the contents of the draft document compiled by the parliamentary committee and signed a month ago by the three parties.

The two formations of the MDC have endorsed the draft document which dilutes the powers of the president and embraces devolution, among other issues.

Zanu PF has rejected some of these provisions and compiled its own document which trashes most contents of the draft charter. The party’s proposals have been turned down by the MDC parties.

Zanu PF has also been insisting that the draft document and a national report, containing views of the people collected in the outreach phase of the constitution-making process, be tabled at the all-stakeholders indaba.

But Mwonzora said committee members agreed that delegates would only discuss the draft charter and all other documents used in compiling Zimbabwe’s provisional constitution.

President Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai will be invited to officially open the conference.
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