Mugabe: More work needed on constitution

2012-08-19 21:18
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the launch of the country's Population Census in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the launch of the country's Population Census in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Maputo - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Saturday said more work was still needed on a long delayed draft constitution that would set the country on the path to new elections.

"We are very happy," said Mugabe as he left a Southern African Development Community summit in the capital of Mozambique.

"As soon as we get home we will be working with the facilitator, and we do hope we can improve that work on the new constitution soon and there will be a referendum before we have fresh elections."

The draft constitution would rein in presidential powers and bolster those of parliament, set a presidential term limit of 10 years and strip away the president's immunity from prosecution after leaving office.

The draft is meant to go to a referendum, paving the way toward elections that will end a compromise government arrangement Mugabe agreed with rival Morgan Tsvangirai after violence-marred 2008 polls.

The long delayed draft was finished last month, but the process has met hitches. The issue of constitutional reform in Zimbabwe was one of the main items for discussion at the regional meeting in Maputo.

The leaders in the Zimbabwe unity government need to sit down to talk about the draft, said Mugabe. "The principals have not yet met on the draft constitution," he said.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF had changed parts of the draft, the veteran leader told reporters days ahead of the summit without specifying the details.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai's party has endorsed the draft charter as the best basic law in the country's history, adding that it would be a lost chance if the proposed constitution is rejected.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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