Parties to chair constitution making committees

constitutionBULAWAYO The three political parties making up Zimbabwes inclusive government will chair all except one of the thematic committees formed to collate the publics views on the constitution making process, officials have said.

Civic society organisations long opposed to a constitution making process led by Parliament will not chair any thematic committee. ZANU PF and the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai will both chair seven thematic committees. MDC Mutambara will chair two with the last remaining committee being chaired by a traditional leader, co-chairperson of a parliamentary select committee steering the constitution making process Douglas Mwonzora said on Friday.

Mwonzora was addressing a national youth constitutional making conference in Bulawayo organised by the Youth Ministry. Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president Clever Bere expressed disquiet at the select committees failure to parcel out any thematic committees to civic organisations to chair.

This is why ZINASU has joined hands with other organisations like NCA (National Constitutional Assembly) to oppose a Parliament led constitution making process. Its a political process aimed at producing a constitution that fits the wishes of the political parties, Bere told ZimOnline.

ZINASU, NCA and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) favour a people-driven process as opposed to one led by parliamentarians.
Sharp differences have also emerged between the political parties over the writing of the new constitution and Mwonzora revealed that the political leaders would meet today on the matter.

President Robert Mugabes ZANU PF party has said any new constitution should be based on a draft constitution secretly authored by the MDC and ZANU PF on Lake Kariba and known as the Kariba Draft.
However, civic organisations and the MDC parties are opposed to it, saying the document leaves largely untouched the wide-sweeping powers that Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a power-sharing government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara.
The three principals are going to meet on Monday (today) in Harare to try and resolve issues relating to the use of the Kariba Draft as a reference point. Its something which has been quite contentious for some time, Mwonzora said.
Mwonzora said ZANU PF will head thematic committees on founding principles, women and gender, executive organs, minorities and languages, lands, natural resources and empowerment, media and war veterans and freedom fighters.
Tsvangirais MDC will head thematic committees on systems of governance, youth, labour, the disabled, election and transitional provision and independent commissions, religion and citizenship and the bill of rights.

The smaller faction of the MDC led by Mutambara will chair the committees on public finance management and the separation of powers commission with the remaining committee on traditional issues and customs being headed by a traditional leader.
Article 6 of the global political agreement (GPA) signed by the country’s three main political parties last September provides for the drafting of a people-driven constitution.
The draft constitution would be put before the electorate in a referendum expected in July next year and if approved by Zimbabweans will then be brought before Parliament for enactment.
Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is expected to then call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government elections.

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