Zimbabwe clears way for new charter

2012-05-15 14:35

Harare - Zimbabwe's two main political parties have ironed out issues stalling the crafting a new constitution that would pave the way for fresh polls, officials said on Tuesday.

"We are now at the final, last lap of the drafting process," Jessie Majome, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party who sits on the constitutional committee, told AFP.

Paul Mangwana, co-chair of the committee, told state media that his committee had agreed on most of the controversial issues that had delayed the completion of the draft charter.

"We have struck common ground on most of the issues that include the issue of having two vice presidents and the issue of dual citizenship," Mangwana told The Herald newspaper.

The main political parties have been haggling over issues including the devolution of power, dual citizenship and gay rights.

But Mangwana was categoric that "there will be no devolution of power as some people were advocating".

Majome expected a conference to review the draft to take place in the coming months. "So in one month or two we must be done," she said.

Completing the draft would mark a crucial milestone toward elections to replace a shaky unity government between President Robert Mugabe and, formed three years ago in to avoid a full-fledged conflict in the wake of a bloody presidential run-off election.

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

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

Mugabe has vowed that elections will be held this year with or without the new constitution while Tsvangirai insists on reforms agreed to under the power-sharing deal, before new elections are held.

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

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