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Zanu PF Linked NGO Drags Parliament Constitution Committee to Court

Zimbabwe Mugabe
Zimbabwe Mugabe
The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe is expected Monday to hear a case compelling the country’s Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC), tasked with writing a new constitution, to avail within 10 days a detailed report with views of the people gathered in the outreach phase of the constitution-making process.

A Zanu-PF linked group - the Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations - filed papers at the court Thursday.

In his founding affidavit, the group’s president Goodson Nguni, argued that he and other citizens were being “hindered in the enjoyment of their constitutional rights to freedom of expression by COPAC’s failure or refusal to publish the national statistical report on the outcome of the outreach programme.”

The court action follows a similar resolution by the Zanu PF politburo that the national report be published and tied to the COPAC draft constitution when the second all-stakeholders’ conference is convened sometime this year.

Analysts have accused Zanu-PF of trying to frustrate the constitution-making process. But Nguni told VOA that COPAC is deliberately ignoring people’s views.

COPAC spokeswoman Jessie Majome dismissed the court case as a waste of time.

The two Movement for Democratic Change formations have rejected Zanu PF’s proposals to renegotiate the draft charter agreed and signed by the three parties in the shaky coalition government.

They argue that the Zanu PF proposals would make the new constitution worse than the widely-condemned Lancaster House Constitution - Zimbabwe's founding charter.

Zanu PF wants devolution of power removed from the draft document and the dumping of a Peace and Reconciliation Commission, dual citizenship, and presidential running mates, among other issues.

The party also demands a mandatory National Youth Service and restoration of the executive powers of the president.