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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Zim may have new constitution by 2011
    Post Zambia
    May 08, 2010

    Zimbabwe may have a new constitution by April 2011, constitutional and parliamentary affairs minister Eric Matinenga has said.

    Responding to questions from the general public submitted to him via, a human rights and civic information project being run by an alliance of NGOs, Matinenga said there would be no room for the Kariba draft constitution, which President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party wants to be the basis of the new law.

    "I foresee, in terms of time table, that by April 2011 we should have a constitution that has passed through Parliament and has been adopted by Zimbabwe," he said.

    Matinenga said the constitution-making process had already reached an advanced stage and that by mid-May, the outreach programme aimed at collecting people's views on the new law would be rolled out countrywide.

    Talking points for the outreach programme have already been finalised by lawyers representing the political parties that form the inclusive government.

    "The outreach programme will be rolled out, I believe, around the middle of May. It may be towards the end of May, but I am confident that come mid-May we will be able to roll it out," he said.

    "After the outreach, the draft constitution will then be crafted by the experts, and I can assure you that it is not going to be the Matinenga draft. Nor is it going to be the (Morgan) Tsvangirai or (Robert) Mugabe or (Arthur) Mutambara draft.

    It is going to be a draft which is going to be crafted by experts who are going to be looking at what you said during the outreach, and who will then gather what you said into a draft Constitution...People's views will not be tampered with."

    He said after the first draft, a second all-stakeholders conference would be held, after which there would be a referendum, which would give people chance to see whether what they said in the outreach was contained in the draft and was what was being presented in the referendum.

    Matinenga said the parties would not adopt the Kariba draft as a basis for the new law.

    The Kariba draft constitution has now been opposed by Prime Minister Tsvangirai's MDC party despite the party appending its signature to it in September 2007.

    Experts say that Kariba draft entrenches the executive powers of the President and leaves President Mugabe's powers intact.

    "People must not fear. They must not be taken in when people say the Kariba draft will determine the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Let me assure people that there is no special place for the Kariba draft in the Constitution making process.

    What we have agreed as the three political parties is that the outreach team should be gathering information on the basis of talking points...nobody is going to be waving the Kariba draft, nor any other draft for that matter, in the outreach meetings," Matinenga said.

    The Kariba draft was produced and signed by ZANU-PF and the MDC in 2007 during talks under the auspices of former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

    The writing of the new constitution is the key pre-occupation of the transitional inclusive government, which is supposed to provide grounds for democratic elections, expected sometime in 2011.

    According to the global political agreement that established the inclusive government, the new constitution was supposed to be ready within 18 months of the formation of the inclusive government. The process, however, is lagging behind the time-table because of funding problems.

    The new constitution is supposed to be the basis of fresh elections after the inclusive government's term expires in 18 to 36 months from the date of inception on February 13, 2009.

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