Zimbabwe constitution draft 'too slow'

2012-03-02 12:45

Harare - Zimbabwean leaders have given the committee drafting a new constitution a two-week ultimatum to complete the draft charter, state media reported on Friday.

The Herald newspaper said President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were "perturbed by the slow pace of the constitution-drafting process".

"They have now directed that the management committee of the parliamentary constitutional select committe [Copac] concludes the whole process within two weeks, to submit a draft to them within the same time, which is to say by March 15, 2012," Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the president, told the paper.

Sibanda's statement came days after the decision-making committee of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, the politburo, deplored what it said were deliberate delays in the constitution-making process.

Mugabe has expressed similar sentiments and vowed to push for elections this year, with or without a new constitution.

Tsvangirai says new polls can only be held after a raft of reforms agreed to under the pact which gave birth to a power-sharing government have been implemented.

Work on the new constitution has run in fits and starts, hindered by attacks on meetings by supporters' of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government in 2009 to mend the economy and avoid a descent into full-fledged conflict in the wake of a bloody presidential run-off election.

Under the pact, the two political rivals agreed to a raft of reforms including amending electoral and media laws and drafting a new charter to pave the way to fresh polls.

Public outreach on the constitution began in 2009 after the unity government was sworn in, but it has been repeatedly disrupted and marred by violence.

One Tsvangirai supporter died when pro-Mugabe militants stoned a meeting in September 2010.

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

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