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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Parties adopt draft constitution framework
    Faith Zaba, The Independent (Zimbabwe)
    October 13, 2011

    The three coalition government partners, Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, have adopted a preliminary draft constitutional framework that can be used in drafting the country's new supreme law. According to co-chairperson of the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, Zanu PF came up with the framework and the MDC formations adopted it with improvements at a meeting held on Monday.

    "The framework was adopted on Monday by the select committee," said Mangwana. "Guided by views that came out of the outreach meetings, we focused on the elements of what came out. Now that the framework is done, we will look at the principles which will be allocated to various chapters at a workshop next week. When we have agreed on the framework, we will give it to the drafters," he said.

    However, MDC-T's co-chairperson of Copac Douglas Mwonzora said the Zanu PF document was rejected at Monday's meeting but they had still managed to come up with a preliminary draft framework.

    "That (Zanu PF) document was rejected and a proper framework was debated and adopted," said Mwonzora. "It was rejected on the basis that it did not relate to what came out from the people," he said.

    The Zimbabwe Independent is in possession of the adopted preliminary draft framework and the document Zanu PF presented to Copac, as well as another Zanu PF document outlining its position on certain issues.

    While Zanu PF is pushing for a provision prohibiting homosexuality and same sex marriage, Copac officials who attended the meeting said that position was rejected.

    "It is a non-issue and it will not be included in the constitution," said a Copac official. "There is no need to put it as a provision because it is generally unacceptable in Zimbabwe."

    Part of the Zanu PF document reads: "No to homosexuality and same sex marriages. The dominant view is that this practice must not be allowed and consequently is derogation from the Bill of Rights."

    Other sections excluded in the final framework that Zanu PF wanted to stand as chapter headings were the land issue and indigenisation and economic empowerment.

    Under Chapter V of the Zanu PF document titled Land, Environment and Natural Resources, land should belong to the state and land reform should continue until all colonial injustices concerning land were removed. It also said no title deeds should be issued for agricultural land.

    It suggested that there be 99-year leases on agricultural land, equitable distribution of land, a land commission and no to multiple farm ownership.

    On indigenisation and economic empowerment, the document said there should be affirmative action and indigenisation and empowerment of local communities.

    The Zanu PF draft framework also suggested that there be an executive president and two vice presidents - a matter which is still under debate.

    On electoral system and process, the party's dominant view favoured a hybrid system comprising first past-the-post system as well as proportional representation.

    It suggested that the number of constituencies remain at 210 and 93 senators.

    Without specifying who appoints the judiciary, the document said it should be independent and their appointment be approved by senate.

    It said the predominant view was that Zimbabwe is a unitary state with devolved power to provinces and local governments.

    A note on devolution read: "The dominant view is that provincial councils and local governments should have sufficient devolved power to enable them to engage in development within their areas of jurisdiction. In particular, provincial governors should have budgets independent of ministries of national government which enable them to fund provincial development programmes and facilitate easy access to services."

    Meanwhile, the agreed preliminary draft framework has included a provision for a national prosecuting authority and chapters that deal with the intelligence service and a national security council.

    "In the preliminary framework, there will now be a provision that deals with the intelligence service and the National Security Council so that we deal with Joint Operations Command (Joc)," said a Copac official.

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