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Revised draft available - Constitution Watch
May 03, 2012
Draft Constitution Published
On 1st May Newsday
published its first instalment of the text of the latest draft
of the constitution, i.e., the draft that was approved by the COPAC
Select Committee and then delivered to the Management Committee
last week. [Note: In our last Constitution Watch Veritas, referred
to this as the second draft – to distinguish it from the first
draft published by
the Herald on the 10th of February. But although that draft has
now been thoroughly revised by the lead drafters and the COPAC Co-chairs
Forum, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
chairing the Management Committee has insisted that it should be
called the “first draft” because it is the first official
draft to reach the Management Committee and be accepted by the Management
Committee as a foundation for progress. Veritas to avoid confusion
will call it the revised draft]
This first Newsday
extract covered the Preamble and Chapter 1 [Founding Principles].
Newsday of 2nd May followed with instalment 2. This extract covers
Chapter 2 [National Objectives], Chapter 3 [Citizenship] and part
of Chapter 4 [Declaration of Rights]. Today’s Newsday continues
with Chapter 4 up to clause 22.
not usually circulate drafts that are not complete or have not been
finalised. But as the latest draft is now in the public domain and
needs to be widely discussed, and as we believe it may be helpful
to do so, we make it available in electronic form for those who
do not have access to a hard copy or otherwise need a soft copy.
We thank Newsday for providing the document.
Herald had the complete draft as a supplement, but the very small
print makes it difficult to read.
Draft (Revised) Still Not Complete
As pointed out
in Constitution Watch
of 26th April, this revised draft is not a complete draft. There
are issues that were still to be decided by the Management Committee
and/or the principals or political parties. Also to be borne in
mind when reading the draft is that, as well as later inclusion
of issues still to be resolved, there may be further revisions even
of this text by the Management Committee and/or the principals/party
presidents or political parties. It is only when it has gone through
all these levels that a final draft will be translated and made
available countrywide for debate before the Second Stakeholders’
Conference. So any comment on or objection to the first draft (revised)
may also have to be revised. Nevertheless, as the new constitution
requires study and analysis, the sooner this is started the better
– with the caveat that there are still changes to come.
of Management Committee Meeting on 30th April
The COPAC Management
Committee met as planned on Monday 30th April to consider the revised
draft delivered to them by the COPAC co-chairs last week. Press
reports of the meeting’s outcome have been somewhat contradictory,
but according to the chairperson of the Management Committee, Hon
Eric Matinenga, Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs,
the decisions taken at that meeting were:
- the Management
Committee will remain seized with the “parked issues”
and will meet again next week with a view to resolving them, the
only really troublesome remaining issue being what provision should
be made for implementation of devolution of power to the provinces
- the draft
must be referred to the three GPA
political parties for their comments. [This has now been done.]
- the draft,
even though incomplete, must be given to the “party principals/party
presidents”, i.e., it must go to Professor Ncube as well
as to Mr Mugabe , Mr Tsvangirai and Professor Mutambara. [It has
already been received by Professor Ncube, Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai.]
[Note: Professor Ncube’s MDC is represented on the Select
Committee and the Management Committee. Professor Mutambara’s
MDC is not.]
- the Select
Committee members, under the leadership of the co-chairs, must
endeavour to make the necessary editorial corrections arising
from discussions that have taken place so far and must revisit
the provisions on citizenship to make the changes agreed on by
the Management Committee regarding dual citizenship. [The management
committee had at a previous meeting resolved the “parked”
issue of dual citizenship by leaving it to be regulated by Act
of Parliament, but at the same time ensuring special protection
of the rights of citizens by birth and descent, and those currently
classed as aliens but who by virtue of birth in and family residence
in Zimbabwe can be said to belong to Zimbabwe.]
- the political
parties must submit their comments no later than Friday 4th May.
[Mr Biti has said that MDC-T has already made its comments.]
- the co-chairs
must also submit the tidied-up draft no later than Friday 4th
May, to facilitate a fruitful Management Committee meeting on
Monday 7th May.
out of Three Previously Parked Issues Resolved
parked issue [see Constitution
Watch of 26th April 2012] has been resolved by not specifying
whether there would be one or two in the Constitution, and instead
saying there can be “up to two Vice-Presidents’.
has been resolved [see above] – though there is still a strong
opinion that it should not be left to an Act of Parliament because
correctly all the important parameters of citizenship should be
covered in the Constitution.
and its modalities
This still remains
an unresolved and contentious issue and the Chapter of the revised
draft headed Provincial and Local Government is still “parked”.
[Note: The present constitution has a certain measure of devolution
but there is pressure for more devolution of power from the MDC
parties and strong resistance to this from ZANU-PF.]
Long to an Agreed Final Draft?
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga said today
he hoped the remaining issues could be satisfactorily resolved and
the final draft wrapped up by the end of next week.
up the draft by the end of next week – 11th May – is
a tall order. Things could still be delayed or derailed –
for instance, by one of the GPA political parties failing to come
up with agreed comments on the draft for submission to the Management
Committee. Reports suggest that there is a strong body of opinion
within ZANU-PF that is vehemently opposed to the draft. The ZANU-PF
Politburo is due to meet on Thursday 3rd May.
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