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Constitution: VP posts to be based on seniority

According to its report of May 14 2012, the Copac management committee agreed the new constitution should indicate that the president appoints two vice presidents ranked in terms of seniority to provide certainty in matters of succession.

“In this regard, it was agreed that the constitution should provide for a first vice president and a second vice president,” reads the report.

On the quota for women in parliament, the report says: “There was an agreement on the principle of reserving a quota for women in parliament but there was no consensus on the actual quantum. There was also no agreement on whether this quota would apply to both houses of parliament.”

The report also says the new constitution would allow the president to appoint not more than five ministers from outside parliament. The select committee had earlier set the number at three.

Copac has also scrapped the holding of provincial stakeholders meetings alleging that they risked being “hijacked for ulterior motives” and would instead replace them with public awareness campaigns countrywide.

According to a Copac management committee document submitted to the select committee, all the three political parties, Zanu PF and the two MDC formations  unanimously resolved to dump the meetings.

“The management committee resolved that it was no longer necessary to conduct the pre-stakeholders provincial meetings. Members were in agreement that there was high probability that these meetings would be hijacked for ulterior motives. In their place, the management committee suggested the holding of public awareness campaigns countrywide,” reads the report.

Last week, Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T told diplomats that the second all stakeholders’ conference was likely to be held next month.

There was mayhem, bordering on violence, during the first stakeholders conference in 2009 as parties clashed on ideological grounds.

Tension has been escalating around the constitution-making exercise, particularly on the issues of devolution and gay rights, which Zanu PF accuses the two MDC formations of attempting to smuggle in the new governance charter.

Civil society organisations have long expressed worry that a second all stakeholders conference could turn violent and appealed to Copac to put in measures to secure a violence-free conference.

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