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Zimbabwe’s Draft Constitution Delayed by Another Week

The Select Committee responsible for writing the country’s new constitution says the basic document will not be completed by Friday as expected due to absent members of the management committee from ZANU-PF.

Zimbabwe's parliamentary select committee responsible for writing the country’s new constitution says the new basic document will not be completed by Friday as expected, citing the absence of some crucial members to finalize the draft.

Last month President Robert Mugabe and his governing partners reportedly gave the committee a two-week ultimatum to wrap-up the constitution-making process so a referendum could be called, paving the way for elections this year.

Select Commitee co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the VOA several outstanding issues, including the structure of the presidency, devolution of power, the death penalty, dual citizenship and some aspects of the land issue, are still to be resolved.

He said the management committee was supposed to meet to finalize these issues but has been unable to meet for the past two weeks.

Mwonzora told VOA reporter Violet Gonda that current delays have been caused by ZANU-PF’s Patrick Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are both out of the country.

“We just hope that by next week these gentlemen, or one of them would have come … if everything moves according to plan we will be able to produce our draft at the end of the week next week,” Mwonzora said.

His co-chair from ZANU-PF, Paul Mangwana, declined to discuss the issue saying he will only be able to do so Friday.

Their counterpart from the Welshman Ncube MDC formation, Edward Mkhosi, said it was in the first place over-ambitious to say the draft constitution would be ready by Friday.

“I think that was a rush decision because they are quite a number of issues that must be resolved before we come to that stage," said Mkhosi. "We still have packed issues which the management committee is seized with, and we still have to report to the Select Committee the revisions that we have made in the draft,” said Mkhosi. “All these processes have not taken place.”