Constitution-drafters’ contracts extended

The drafters’ contracts expired on January 25, but Copac co-chairpersons from the two MDC formations, Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi, made this undertaking after the trio’s status became a contentious issue with Zanu PF pushing for them to be fired on accusations of ignoring popular views to disenfranchise the former liberation movement.

 

Negotiators from the MDC, MDC-T and Zanu PF met on Tuesday in a bid to resolve the contested issues which have slowed down drafting of the country’s supreme law.

Among some of the contentious issues are structure of government, devolution of power, the death penalty, homosexuality, dual citizenship and an independent prosecuting authority.

Mwonzora of the MDC-T said the drafters’ contracts would be extended up to the completion of the whole constitution-drafting process while Mkhosi of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube added that the drafters would be recalled soon after the draft review process was completed and this was not subject to debate.

“Once we are ready with the reviewed draft, we will obviously recall the drafters to continue and this is not subject to discussion,” said Mkhosi.

This comes against the backdrop of vehement protestations by Zanu PF Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana that his party had lost confidence in the drafters and was lobbying the constitution making body’s management committee not to approve an extension of their contracts.

Mangwana told the  Zimbabwe Independent on Tuesday that Zanu PF presented its complaints to the constitution management committee accusing the drafters of being “obnoxious and expressing neo-liberal views” in their draft.

Mangwana said the renewal of the drafter’s contracts was, therefore, not certain as his party was still waiting for the management committee’s response to his party’s request for appointment of new drafters.

“If their contracts have expired there is absolutely no guarantee that they will be renewed,” Mangwana said.

However, Mwonzora dismissed Zanu PF’s allegations saying the drafters had done nothing wrong.

He said the drafters had worked as per the instruction of the three political parties, but it was the incompetence of ZanuPF members who were failing to act on what the parties had agreed.

In another development the three parties’ negotiators met on Tuesday to review some of the contentious issues but no resolution was reached.
One negotiator said the issue of dual citizenship scared Zanu PF.

“Zanu PF is scared that the Diaspora is composed of MDC-T and MDC supporters. We have a large fraction of Zimbabwe’s population outside the country and they (Zanu PF) feel that towards an election it’s going to be a challenge,” said the negotiator.Both MDC formations are advocating dual citizenship.

On the structure of government, Zanu PF wants two vice presidents without a prime minister to accommodate its party structure while the MDC parties prefer a president with limited powers and a prime minister with executive power.

They also prefer a structure with one deputy president.

The constitution-making process continues to be dogged by political haggling stalling progress and the principals have not made it any easier by their failure to deal with sticking issues referred to them.

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