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civic groups plan conference to discuss new constitution
September 09, 2005
HARARE – Zimbabwe
civic groups will next week convene a conference to discuss the
way forward in the wake of the government’s railroading of constitutional
amendments in parliament last week.
whose theme is: "Deciding Zimbabwe’s Destiny – A New Constitution
For All, By All – Now!" is set to be attended by the all the
major political parties and civic groups in the country.
Among the groups
scheduled to attend are the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the National Constitutional Assembly,
Zimbabwe National Students Union, Zimbabwe Liberators Platform and
the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
a Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) board member whose group
is organising the conference, confirmed the plans but referred questions
to his boss Arnold Tsunga.
The ZLHR said
the conference will provide a platform "to meet, discuss, devise
strategies and build consensus on the way forward" on the constitutional
President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party used its majority
in the House to railroad controversial constitutional amendments
that will, among other things, create a senate and empower the government
to seize land from the mainly white farmers without recourse in
the government’s handling of the constitutional reforms in parliament
saying the manner in which the Bill was passed "clearly highlight
the need for a constitution that is owned by the people and adopted
through a popular process rather than a partisan approach."
said the conference will seek to "develop an agenda on how
the nation can be galvanised into bringing about a new constitution,
adopting measures that will compel the authorities to address the
need for restoration of the freedoms and democracy that have been
incrementally eroded by the government since independence."
did not divulge what these "measures" would entail. But
the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) led by Lovemore Madhuku
has in the past demonstrated in the streets demanding a new democratic
comment on Thursday on the planned conference, Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa who was at the forefront in pushing the constitutional
reforms in parliament, scoffed at the civic groups’ proposals.
it is just a way of accounting for the funds they (non-governmental
organisations) get from donors. The ZANU PF government finished
the constitutional matter by passing a landmark Bill last month.
Where were they? Everyone was consulted," he said. - ZimOnline
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