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Zimbabwe Constitutional Process Stalls Again, This Time Over Role of Donors

Zimbabwean officials and donors supporting the constitutional revision process want increased accountability, but President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have accused them of trying to hijack the process

Zimbabwe's constitutional revision process has ground to a halt again and sources say the problem this time is a disagreement between the government and donors bankrolling the project through the United Nations Development Program.

Donors are said to be demanding input into the process and for Harare to help meet soaring costs.

UNDP officials declined to comment, saying it would be premature to make a statement in the matter.

But President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have blasted donors, accusing them of trying to hijack the process of redrafting the basic document.

Co-Chairman Paul Mangwana of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Constitutional Revision told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the process is in limbo - but Harare remains optimistic.

Attorney Tapuwa Mudambanuki, executive director of the African Center for Law and Justice in Harare, says that despite frustration Zimbabweans must support the process as critical to the democratic process.

Writing a new constitution is a central task for the unity government installed in Harare in February 2009. The redrafted constitution is supposed to be ready later this year for the country approve or disapprove in a referendum. A new round of national elections looms beyond that process as an even higher hurdle for the country, whose 2008 presidential, general and local elections were marred by deadly violence.