THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Copac adopts changes to first draft
    The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe)
    March 18, 2012

    View this article on the Sunday Mail website

    The full Constitution Select Committee (Copac) has adopted changes to the first draft of the proposed new constitution, drawing the country closer to the conclusion of the crafting of the supreme law.

    Copac co-chair Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana told The Sunday Mail that the 25-member panel met in Harare last Wednesday and agreed to all clauses under the refined version of the draft.

    He, however, said only two outstanding areas around the separation of powers would be tabled before the management committee tomorrow. The management committee, comprising negotiators to the Global Political Agreement, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Advocate Eric Matinenga and the three Copac co-chairs is expected to resolve the sticking points after which the document will be presented to the inclusive Government principals for scrutiny.

    "Copac went through all the revisions that were done by the co-chairs and adopted them," said Cde Mangwana. "More than 50 percent of the contents of the initial draft were revised. It was necessary for us to revise the document to ensure it is in line with what the people said and what we want. This is normal procedure. "The management committee will meet on Monday (tomorrow). We will present a progress report and expect to resolve the two issues during this meeting."

    Cde Mangwana would not be drawn into divulging the revised clauses, but a copy of the refined draft shows that a new provision seeks to compel the State to take "reasonable measures" to ensure no one gender has more than 50 percent representation in all Constitutional, State and Government institutions. Chapter 2 of the draft provides for the State to ensure everyone of marriageable age is free to marry "another person of the opposite sex".

    On citizenship, the new draft engenders all Zimbabweans to defend the sovereignty of the country. It also states that anyone born outside the country is a Zimbabwean by descent if either his or her parents or grandparents were Zimbabweans. In the first draft, this provision dealt with citizenship by birth and registration, but was expanded to include citizenship by descent.

    It is understood work was underway last week to address dual citizenship and the restoration of citizenship. Regarding property rights, the draft seeks to vest all agricultural land acquired under the Land Reform Programme in the State. Only compensation for improvements made to the property will be contested and not the land acquisition itself.

    Indigenous Zimbabweans (but who are not defined in the draft) would also be protected from the compulsory acquisition of their agricultural land if the draft eventually becomes law.

    The document also proposes a land commission that would carry out periodic land audits, enforce the one person-one farm principle and resolve land disputes. The contentious clause around the tenure of the President was also revised to a two-term limit for an incumbent who serves under the new constitution. Furthermore, the draft seeks to empower the Senate, sitting as a court at the request of two-thirds of the members of the House of Assembly, to impeach and remove the President from office for, among other reasons, failing to defend the supreme law. It also empowers Parliament to approve the appointment of the Attorney-General and other senior public officials. It also proposes the setting up of a Constitutional Court that will, among other functions, determine whether an Act of Parliament or the conduct of the President is constitutional.

    View some of the changes in the revised draft here

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.