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ZIMBABWE: NCA calls for "people-driven" constitutional
January 13, 2004
the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has vowed to frustrate
any talks on constitutional reform between the ruling ZANU-PF party
and the opposition. It argues that only Zimbabweans - not political
parties - have the right to decide on the matter.
Lovemore Madhuku told IRIN he would consider negotiations on constitutional
reforms between the two parties an "illegitimate process",
even though the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
had its roots in the NCA and the labour movement.
"Political parties could only discuss the modalities on how
to involve the people," he said.
President Thabo Mbeki, on a visit to Zimbabwe in December, and the
church, have both urged ZANU-PF and the MDC to negotiate a solution
to the country's deep political and economic crises.
While the MDC
has denied that any talks have so far taken place, it has insisted
that the focus of any dialogue should be on constitutional reforms,
to ensure future elections are free and fair.
The NCA, an
umbrella civic organisation, successfully lobbied in 2000 for the
rejection by referendum of a controversial draft constitution by
the government-appointed Constitutional Commission.
After that defeat,
President Robert Mugabe said the country would stick with its original
constitution, which has been much criticised for the power vested
in the presidency.
The NCA proposes
"people-driven" reforms, based on a national consultative
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