Constitution process grinds to a halt again

PUBLIC consultations on the constitution are likely to be further delayed after government failed to raise US$7 million additional funds to the US$14 million promised by donors.

Co-chairperson of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) Paul Mangwana told the Zimbabwe Independent that donors indicated that they would only release their US$14 million when government foots the remainder of the required US$21 million.

Mangwana said on Tuesday the constitution-making process has once again ground to a halt until they get the funding from government and donors.

He said the donors only pledged to provide 70% of the required US$21 million while the government is expected to chip in 30% of the total funding.

“The donors pledged funds for the outreach programme but they have now turned around and want the government to also commit themselves to the constitution-making process and they want the Zimbabwean government to fund 30% of the constitution-making process while they fund the 70%,” said Mangwana.

Meanwhile, sources close to the constitution-making process said the donors have also indicated that they would not fund allowances and any per-diems for the outreach teams during the process.

“Donors were dismayed with reports that the parliamentarians involved in the process were paying themselves hefty allowances for doing the constitutional work and most of the donors felt that they will not fund anything outside of the actual constitution-making process,” said the source, who preferred anonymity.

The constitution-making process hit a snag in January after the constitution-making management committee demanded a revision of the agreement signed between the government and the UNDP.

But there was hope in February when government and UNDP signed the agreement, which was supposed to pave way for the release of the funds.

The outreach teams were scheduled for deployment this month. Training of the rapporteurs would only be done when funds are available.

 “Before embarking on the outreach programme, the next stage we have to undertake is the training of the rapporteurs and we expect that to be done immediately we get funds from the donors,” Mangwana said.

He said the Ministry of Finance has indicated to them that it did not have any funds.

“The crisis we have at the moment is that the Ministry of Finance has also indicated that it does not have the funds to avail to the constitution-making process and as things stand at the moment we are stuck,” Mangwana said.

The constitution-making process is marred in controversy after reports emerged that the committees and MPs involved in the process were paying themselves hefty allowances during the training period. –– Staff Writer.

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