Zimbabwe: Drafting of New Constitution Back On Track

The drafting of a new constitution was said to be 'back on track' after COPAC reached 'common ground' on contentious issues during a meeting in Harare on Wednesday.

All parties to the GPA attended the meeting, the first in two weeks after a period blighted by a ZANU PF boycott of the process. Senior figures from ZANU PF, including COPAC co-chairperson Paul Mangwana, were present when COPAC took a step torwards finalising the drafting of a new charter.

The breakthrough comes as the SADC regional bloc was putting pressure on all parties in the GPA to work together to end the current impasse, amid reports that Zimbabweans are fed up of waiting for a new constitution while the process dragged on indefinitely.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed the SADC chairman, Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba has been pushing for all sides to put aside partisan differences so they can resume work to serve the people, and restore confidence in the process.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T co-chairman in COPAC told us 'ZANU PF is back in the fold, cooperating and beginning to sound reasonable. He explained that the party had tried to derail the process by introducing some completely new and unacceptable issues in their "position paper".

'We completely rejected that 29-page document and said that we should work on the draft the way we've always done. We are happy to say that we reached common ground today and that we will try to finalize this process by the end of next week,' Mwonzora said on Wednesday.

He further explained that they made it clear they were not going to agree to new issues being brought by ZANU PF. He said anything they are going to do by way of revision of the process was going to be confined to documents they 'all agreed to and signed'.

Copac representatives from the former ruling party disengaged from the exercise following immense pressure from Paul Mangwana, the ZANU-PF's negotiator in the constitution-making process and party heavyweights. The heavyweights, mostly politburo members have rallied against the new draft constitution, which they see as being aimed at bringing regime change.

The contentious issues in the draft constitution, which was endorsed by the two MDC formations, include a proposal for reducing the powers of the president and delegating some of them to parliament.

The draft was drawn by COPAC after collecting views from Zimbabweans on what they wanted in the document. The proposal has, however, been rejected by some in ZANU PF, especially those allied to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who cannot tolerate the idea of a weakened presidency.

The proposal has caused a crack in ZANU PF with two factions battling to succeed Robert Mugabe wrangling over the draft. An analyst told us there is confusion in ZANU PF because the interests of the warring political elites or factions are not secure in the draft constitution.

The drafting of a new constitution was said to be ‘back on track’ after COPAC reached ‘common ground’ on contentious issues during a meeting in Harare on Wednesday.

The drafting of a new constitution was said to be 'back on track' in Zimbabwe