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All stakeholders' conference on constitution gives NCA mandate
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
September 19, 2005

An All Stakeholders Conference on Constitution in Zimbabwe has given the NCA a mandate to lead the constitutional reform exercise.

Opposition and civic society groups met over the weekend in Harare to plot ways to push for a new and democratic constitution for the country.

Delegates to the conference dubbed: "Deciding Zimbabwe’s Destiny – A New Constitution For All, By All – Now!" were drawn from organisations such as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the NCA, Zimbabwe National Students Union, Zimbabwe Liberators Platform, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe Chapter), the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.

Opposition political parties which attended the conference included: the Democratic Party, the Movement for Democratic Change, Zanu Ndonga and the Christian Democrats.

The conference on agreed on the following:

  • to push for the "writing of a home-grown constitution,
  • the promotion of a constitution that Zimbabweans want and
  • to lobby international organisations such as the AU (African Union) and the UN (United Nations) to advocate for the return of the rule of law in Zimbabwe."

President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party last month used its control of Parliament to railroad through the House a cocktail of constitutional amendments that became effective law after Mugabe signed them on September 9.

Under the new constitutional changes, white farmers are banned from contesting in court seizure of their land by the government. The new law empowers the state to seize passports from citizens it deems may harm its interests by travelling to foreign countries.

The NCA believes that the government will use the law to ban opposition leaders and other critics from travelling outside the country to highlight state repression.

The constitutional amendment also provides for a new senate that analysts say will entrench Mugabe's stranglehold on power.

Commenting on the Saturday meeting, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA National Chairperson said the conference was a success and it had shown its trust in the NCA in the leading of a constitutional reform exercise.

"By being given the mandate to lead the process, it shows that Zimbabwe do not doubt our capacity to lead the process of drafting a home-grown and democratic constitution for Zimbabweans."

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