Zim constitution process drags on

2012-06-21 09:07
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (AP Photo)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (AP Photo)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Special Report

Harare - Constitution drafters from Zimbabwe's rival political parties are this week combing through hundreds of points of contention, an exercise that is deepening the uncertainty over the country's future.

Officials crafting the charter are reviewing more than 200 issues, according to Paul Mangwana of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

"Some of the issues where we are disagreeing are serious and some are trivial. In some cases it is just political posturing by certain individuals," he told local media this week.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change was blunter.

"They no longer want the constitution to provide for an independent prosecution. They no longer want a constitution which says the army should not participate in politics. They no longer want the devolution of power.

"In short, it's a rewrite of the whole draft constitution and departing from the views that came from the people during the outreach," said Jessie Majome.

Unity government

A new constitution is a key condition of reforms agreed in 2008 when Mugabe was forced into a unity government with his arch-rival Tsvangirai to avoid a descent into conflict after a bloody presidential run-off.

After three years of work, the process has yet to wind up, with a referendum of approval constantly postponed.

"Disputes over the drafting of the new constitution are likely to intensify, stalling the referendum and the likelihood of progressive legal and security reforms," said London-based risk analysis agency Maplecroft.

The main disputes centre on the devolution of power to provinces, dual citizenship, gay rights and the role of the military in politics.

Ordinary Zimbabweans contributed their thoughts during an outreach programme, "but there is an invasive proposal to change the draft coming from Zanu-PF," Majome said.

"They are proposing so many changes," she said.

Feuding on the charter comes on top of other political clashes.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a Tsvangirai ally, raised alarm bells last week after it emerged that the Mugabe-controlled ministries of defence and home affairs had gone on an unbudgeted recruitment spree.

Biti said the hiring of 4 600 army and 1 200 police recruits had created "serious problems", with food shortages in military barracks forcing the diversion of pension and customs funds to feed the recruits.

A meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which brokered the 2008 post-electoral peace, early this month told the country's political rivals to set specific deadlines for the completion of political reforms.

Facilitators from South Africa are expected in Harare next week to check on progress.


Completing the constitution would mark a crucial milestone toward elections to replace the shaky unity government.

Once the document is out, it will be translated into major local languages before going to a public conference for discussion.

Parliament would then debate it before it is put to a referendum. If approved, elections would soon follow.

With the haggling ongoing, elections are unlikely to take place before June next year, leaving Zanu-PF in an uncomfortable position, according to Dewa Mavhinga of the Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe, which gathers more than 300 civil society groups.

Mugabe, who has dominated politics for 32 years, is already his party's candidate.

He wants to exit the power-sharing deal as soon as possible - with or without a new constitution, while Tsvangirai insists that key reforms be implemented first.

"They (Zanu-PF) are investing in Mugabe as an individual and he is 88 years old, and they don't want to leave too many things to chance," Mavhinga said.

"Will Mugabe be able to campaign next year when he will be 89?"


Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Senior PHP Developer

Western Cape
Datafin Recruitment
Market Related

Cost Accountant

Western Cape
Tower Group (PTY) Ltd
Market Related

Project Manager

Western Cape
Jireh Group (Pty) Ltd
R440000 - R660000

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get 50% off selected books!

Buy 2 books and get 50% off the second book. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.