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constitution committee goes on strike
September 06, 2009
parliamentary committee tasked with drafting a new constitution,
meant to pave the way to fresh elections, has gone on strike after
government failed to pay their allowances, reports said Sunday.
The strike by
committee has halted work on the charter, which must be redrawn
under the terms of the power-sharing agreement that created the
unity government in February.
committee does not even have a dollar and this is affecting our
functions," Paul Mangwana, the committee's co-chairman, told
the state-run Sunday Mail.
said unless government gives us the resources it would be pointless
to plan. We are just wasting the time of members, some of whom have
to travel to Harare (for meetings)."
He said members
last received their allowances in April and were using personal
resources to support the constitution drafting process.
The UN Development
Programme has provided two million US dollars to the committee,
but Mangwana indicated more money was needed and said nothing had
come from the government.
government to provide the funds. Donors cannot largely provide the
funds because this would make the process donor-driven," he
In April, the
speaker of parliament announced a 25-member committee drawn from
both President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.
Under the power-sharing
deal, the committee should table a draft constitution by February
2010, with a referendum to approve it in July.
The draft would
have to be introduced to parliament by October next year. The new
charter would establish the rules for holding new elections, after
last year's polls degenerated into violent attacks targetting mainly
a constitutional referendum in 2000 but the proposal was rejected
as critics said the published draft gave Mugabe too many powers.
That led to
a wave of farm invasions in which commercial farmers were pushed
off the land, accused by Mugabe supporters of having lobbied against
from rights groups, churches, the media, women's groups, labour
and the farming community will help the committee's members draft
the new constitution.
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