PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is likely to gazette the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19 Bill today in a move which will take a step further efforts to form an inclusive government with Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.
The measure would move ahead a process which has been stalled by bickering between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over sharing of ministries, provincial governorsâ€™ posts and other senior government appointments
Informed sources said this is what the South African cabinet was referring to yesterday when it said an agreement was imminent in Zimbabwe.
Sources said after last weekâ€™s approval of the Bill, which has key elements from the political agreement signed between Zanu PF and the MDCâ€™s two factions on September 15 and a draft constitution crafted in September last year, Mugabe was bound to publish the Bill to allow for public debate before it is introduced in parliament.
In terms of the constitution, the Bill would have to be publicly scrutinised for 30 days before it is introduced in parliament for debate and passage into law.
This means Zimbabwe will not have a new government until next year.
The Bill creates the posts of prime minister to accommodate Tsvangirai and deputy prime ministers for Tsvangiraiâ€™s second-in-command, Thokozani Khuphe, and MDC smaller faction leader Arthur Mutambara.Â
It has a framework for a new inclusive government whose main objective would be to â€œcarry out sustained work to create conditions for returning our country to stability and prosperityâ€.
It outlines the powers and authority of the inclusive government which it says shall be vested in, and be shared among the president, the prime minister and the cabinet who â€œshall exercise executive authority subject to the constitution and the lawâ€.
It says cabinet, which will have 31 members, shall take decisions by â€œconsensus, and take collective responsibilityâ€, something which would be difficult to achieve given the different political and policy positions of Mugabe and Tsvangirai. There will be 15 deputy ministers.Â
Mugabe would no longer make appointments to senior government posts on his own. He would have to agree with the vice-presidents, the prime minister and deputy prime ministers prior to such appointments.
The Bill introduces entrenched â€œpolitical rightsâ€ into the constitution.
These include the right to â€œfree, fair and regular elections for any legislative body, including a local authorityâ€.
It proposes free, fair and regular elections to the office of president and to any other elective office, as well as free and fair referendums.
By Dumisani Muleya