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President Mugabe's Party Seeks Consensus on Draft Charter

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party continues deliberations on the country's new draft constitution Friday after failing to reach consensus on the issue earlier this week.

The party's supreme decision-making body, the politburo, is reportedly at odds over the long-delayed draft, which will replace Zimbabwe's founding charter if approved in a public referendum.

Zanu PF hardliners, including Tsholotsho North lawmaker Jonathan Moyo want the party to reject the document. Moyo led efforts by Zanu PF for a new constitution in 2000 that was overwhelmingly rebuffed by the people.

The party's conflicting views are a matter of public record. The hardliners have openly dissed their party's point man in the constitutional committee, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, calling the draft a "scandalous compromise."

But Mangwana has returned fire, saying Moyo - the apparent spokesman for the hardliners - had no expertise or experience in constitutional law. He also scornfully called out another of his critics, labeling him a "blacklisted lawyer."

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA that the hardliners' position indicates his party is democratic as it permits different viewpoints within its ranks.

National Constitutional Assembly chairman and University of Zimbabwe law professor Lovemore Madhuku said Zanu PF will accept the draft because it is in its favor.

"The failure by Zanu PF to finish the deliberations on the constitution yesterday had more to do with most people in the politburo," Madhuku said. "They are quite old and slow. That was the reason. It's not because they had so many issues to talk about."