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Constitutional outreach put on ice

DONORS funding the constitution-making process have disbursed only US$2,1 million of the total US$14 million they promised and outreach teams will no longer be deployed this weekend until the rest of the funds are released.

According to plans from the Constitution Parliamentary Committee (Copac), the outreach teams were supposed to be deployed to provinces as from tomorrow after the training of rapporteurs, but the process has now been put on ice until donors have released the remaining funds for the process.

The budget for the constitution-making process has however gone down from the projected US$21 million to US$18,5 million.

It also emerged this week that funds for training the rapporteurs were not supplied by the donors but by government.

Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana told the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday that the donors have not provided the requested funds as they were still looking at the budget submitted by Copac.

“The donors have indicated that they are still consulting their home countries on the budgets we supplied and until the funds are released the constitution outreach programme will be delayed,” Mangwana said.

Asked when exactly the process will begin, Mangwana said it was difficult to come up with dates when dealing with donors that have different procedures to follow before releasing funds.

“They (donors) will only disburse after approval from their home countries and the outreach process will only begin once we have received funding from the donors as the training of rapporteurs was funded by government,” Mangwana said.

Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga however said there was no crisis at the moment as donors were working at satisfying their procedures.

“The donors through the UNDP have agreed to provide the funds and they will do that through phases. The Swedes last week released 15 million Swedish Kroners (US$2 million) that they had pledged to the process,” Matinenga said.

He however could not give dates as to when the outreach programmes would commence in the provinces.

“The process is on course and the donors are supportive and we agreed with the donors that the funds will be disbursed quarterly and the first quarter will be to cover the outreach process and the training of rapporteurs,” he said.

Matinenga however said the process will not be behind time as the donors are in the process of disbursing funds that were promised.

The constitution-making process has been delayed by close to nine months.

The three political parties in the inclusive government agreed to craft a people-driven constitution after which elections would be held.

The parties have clashed on the process with Zanu PF campaigning for the Kariba draft to be used as the basis for a new constitution. The Kariba draft was crafted by the three parties before the March 2008 harmonised elections.

The two MDC formations however want people’s input in drafting the new constitution.

 

Loughty Dube

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