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Zimbabwe Parties Pressing For Yes Referendum Vote

Zimbabwe's three parties in the unity government are campaigning for a 'yes' vote in the forthcoming constitutional referendum
Zimbabwe’s political parties are optimistic in advance of a constitutional referendum expected to be called within the next two months that the draft constitution will sail through without any problem despite calls by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) for people to reject the document.

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party on Wednesday endorsed changes agreed to by unity government principals clearing outstanding issues that were blocking the finalization of the constitution-making process.

The party’s supreme decision-making body, the Politburo, met at the Zanu PF headquarters in the capital and agreed the party will join its unity government partners in campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote, paving the way for crucial elections sometime this year.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said his party will do everything in its power to ensure the draft charter is adopted when it is put before the people in a referendum.

“We looked at the agreement reached by principals on the constitution and we fully endorse the agreement,” said Gumbo.

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland this week, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the referendum would most likely be in March, drawing criticism from organizations like the National Constitutional Assembly, who argue that March is too soon to prepare the people for a vote, especially when COPAC is yet to publish the new changes agreed on by the three political party leaders.

The two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change have also indicated that they would campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum.

For perspective on the timing of a referendum, VOA spoke with NCA chairman, Dr. Lovemore Madhuku and COPAC co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana of Zanu PF.

Madhuku said the political parties are taking people for granted by giving them less than two months before calling a vote on the draft charter, after undertaking what he calls a fundamentally flawed constitution making process.

Mangwana said like Mr. Tsvangirai, he is optimistic Zimbabweans will support the draft.