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Lawmakers Demand High Allowances For Crafting Draft Constitution

Some lawmakers and the parliamentary constitution commitee, tasked with crafting the nation's new supreme law, have clashed over fresh demands by legislators for high daily allowances.

The legislators, who participated in the initial phases of Zimbabwe's constitution-making process, are now demanding an addittional $50.00 each after the committee paid them $25.00 per day.

Reports say these demands will push upwards the constitutional committee's budget estimated to be more than $21 million by almost $8 million.

Uzumba lawmaker Simbaneuta Mudarikwa of Zanu PF, who is also a committee member of the parliamentary welfare committee, said the agreed daily allowances for legislators were $75.00 instead of $25.00.

But the committee co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the legislators accepted the $25.00 a day allowances by appending their signatures to the contracts.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga and Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo were not available for comment.

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Zanu PF has rejected a draft constitution submitted by the government-appointed committee saying they want a document that gives the president more powers.

Among the provisions of a draft constitution submitted last month by the committee is one that mandates the president to share power with parliament.

But the two formations of the MDC have rejected the Zanu PF demands stressing that the draft document is a true reflection of the views of the people gathered in the outreach phase of the constitution-making process.