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  • Zim names 25-member constitution making task team
    Nokuthula Sibanda, ZimOnline
    April 13, 2009

    Zimbabwe's speaker of Parliament on Sunday announced a 25-member committee drawn from both ZANU PF and the two formations of the MDC which will oversee the drafting of the country's new constitution, but appealed for funding for the process to be a success.

    The committee drawn from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara's faction of the MDC is expected to start work immediately.

    The 25 members of the committee are, from ZANU PF Flora Bhuka, Walter Chidakwa, Chindori Chininga, Joram Gumbo, Paul Mangwana, Martin Khumalo, Tambudzai Mohadi, Olivia Muchena, Monica Mutsvangwa and Thokozile Mathuthu; from MDC-T is Amos Chibaya, Gladys Gombani Dube, Ian Kay, Cephas Makuyana, Evelyn Masaiti, Editor Matamisa, Douglas Mwonzora, Jabulani Ndlovu, Brian Tshuma, Gift Chimanikire and Jessei Majome; then David Coltart, Dalumazi Khumalo and Edward Tshotsho Mkhosi (from MDC-M); and Fortune Charumbira (President of the Chiefs Council).

    Speaker of the House Lovermore Moyo said the select committee will drive the writing of the new constitution for the country in the next 18 months as outlined under the global political agreement (GPA) the parties signed last year.

    "The constitution making process will require substantial financial and human resources," Moyo said at press conference in Parliament.

    "I therefore, call upon all progressive forces to join hands with us in ensuring that the process brings tangible results that we can all be proud of.

    "This historic inter-party political agreement places the responsibility of leading the constitution making process on the Parliament and more importantly, provides an opportunity for the country to create a constitution by the people for the people."

    He said a constitution was a living and sacred document that "we should all be proud of".

    The draft constitution must be introduced in Parliament by October next year.

    Moyo, aware of the 2000 referendum that rejected a government-driven draft constitution, pointed out that Parliament needed to be diligent so that the constitution making process is a success.

    "This is because making a new constitution for Zimbabwe, not for the present, but for posterity, is the major deliverable expected from the seventh parliament which we cannot be found wanting."

    He said apart from lawmakers, members tasked with the drafting of the new constitution will be drawn from business, students, rights groups, churches, media, women's groups, labour and farmers among others.

    The drafting of new constitution is expected to lead to free and fair elections once the supreme law is signed into law by the president.

    According to Article 6 of the GPA, a parliamentary select committee will be composed of legislators and representatives of civil society, but the committee will have a final say in the drafting of the proposed constitution.

    The agreement states that the select committee should be in place two months after the formation of the inclusive government and should convene an "all-stakeholders" conference within three months after its appointment. The inclusive government was formed on February 13.

    The public consultation process, the pact reads, should be completed no later than four months after the stakeholders' conference and referendum shall be held to allow Zimbabweans to have final say on the draft constitution.

    In the event that the draft is approved in a referendum, it shall be gazetted within a month of the date of the plebiscite and would be introduced in parliament not later than a month after the expiration of a period of 30 days from the date of gazetting.

    Zimbabwe is currently governed under the 1979 constitution agreed at the Lancaster House talks in London. The constitution has been amended 19 times since the country's Independence in 1980.

    An attempt to introduce a new constitution between 1999 and 2000 failed after the NCA and other civil society organisations, backed by a nascent MDC, successfully campaigned against a government-sponsored draft.

    NCA chair Lovemore Madhuku has promised to oppose an new draft penned by political parties without direct input from the public.

    "People must write their own constitution directly, not through politicians, parliamentarians or government. The surest way to make sure that a constitution is respected is if it is written by the people themselves and carries their word," Madhuku said after the signing of the GPA on September 15 2008.

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