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Zimbabwe Civic Group Urges Dissolution of Parliamentary Committee on Constitution

The call by NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku for dissolution of the parliamentary committee on the constitution followed the suspension of the public outreach process in Harare after violence last weekend claimed one life

Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly, a non-governmental organization that has long opposed the revision of the nation's constitution under Parliament's leadership, this week urged the government to dissolve the select parliamentary committee in charge of the process, charging that it has demonstrated its incompetence.

The call by NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku followed the suspension of the constitutional revision public outreach process in Harare after violence last weekend claimed one life, reported Thomas Chiripasi.

Madhuku said a non-political constitutional commission should be established to take over from the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee or COPAC, under which the process has often been disorganized and chaotic.

Another civic grouping, the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, denounced the process in a statement earlier this week, urging the national unity government to take steps to ensure the outreach process will be peaceful.

But political analyst Joy Mabenge, who has been monitoring of the constitutional revision process, said things have progressed too far for the exercise to be abandoned at this point. He told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the parliamentary committee should ensure the outreach phase is concluded in the capital and Bulawayo, the second largest city, and let Zimbabweans decide whether or not they want to endorse the draft.

Though the outreach process has stalled for most Zimbabweans, organizers late this week managed to glean some intelligence on youth and child issues from a sampling of 300 young people gathered in Harare for a consultative meeting that ended with presentation of a document outlining what the constitution should say to youth.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika in Harare reported on the meeting and its conclusions, among which were that the constitution should guarantee the basic rights of children including access to a healthy living environment with safe drinking water and proper sanitation, decent housing, education and health care.

The meeting also resolved that primary education should be free as it was following independence in 1980.

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