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MDC’s democratic constitution out

THE quest to come up with a democratic constitution for Zimbabwe took a new twist this week when the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) submitted a draft document to parliament to counter Zanu PF’s piecemeal amendments to the

Lancaster House constitution.

The draft seeks to repeal draconian pieces of legislation passed after 2000 such as Posa and Aippa. It recognises the need for the state to acquire land in the national interest but wants adequate compensation paid.

Provisions in the draft remove the limits to freedom of choice by parents proposed under the Education Amendment Bill, soon to be presented to parliament.

The draft comes as President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party is busy amending the constitution to enable it to nationalise all acquired land and also abridge people’s movements “in the national interest”.

On Tuesday, heated debate on the proposed amendments lasted seven hours, with stay-the-course Zanu PF MPs supporting the Bill against the MDC.

The opposition took Zanu PF legislators by surprise on Wednesday when it presented a new constitutional draft to parliament for consideration.The MDC said its draft could be the basis for a newbeginning for Zimbabwe.

MDC Secretary for economic affairs and lawyer Tendai Biti said the document presented to parliament was a combination of the best of two draft constitutions, one prepared by the Constitutional Commission in 2000 but rejected in the referendum, and the other crafted by civil groups after years of nation-wide consultations.Biti said the suggested constitution was similar to the most progressive in the region, such those in force in South Africa and Namibia.

The draft entrenches a welter of individual freedoms and rights while abolishing arbitrary detentions, arrests and harassment from law enforcement agencies.

The draft proposes to abolish the executive presidency and instead vests executive power in a prime minister elected by parliament for two terms. – Staff Writer.

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