Jan referendum

The Committee of Parliament on the Constitution (Copac) said Zimbabwe’s draft constitution will be submitted to parliament for review on October 15, while a referendum could be held by January next year if the August house approves the draft.

However, Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller MDC faction, said chances were high that the three parties would fail to agree on the draft-constitution, further delaying elections.

Zanu (PF) Copac Co-Chairperson, Paul Magwana, said the draft document would be submitted to parliament on October 15 if all three parties agree.

The proposed time lines, according to Mangwana , are:

• From August 1 – Production of district, provisionaland national reports.

• August 22 – Drafting

• September 30 – Second stakeholders’ conference.

• October 30 – Report to a parliament

• January 15, 2012 – Referendum

“If parliament approves, the executive will decide on when the referendum will be held three months from the date (October 15),” he said at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

“It is the executive that will decide on a date that is practical. It could 45 days, 75 days or on the 90th day. These dates depend on the executive. It is not for me to say as I could be kicked out of office by then,” Magwana said.

Ncube said prospects of a no-vote were slim. “Chances of a no vote are next to impossible as all parties will make sure they whip their people in line to agree to it,” Ncube said. “The pertinent question to ask is what happens if both parties do not agree on the draft constitution, which is a likely scenario,” he said.

MDC Co-chairpersonDouglass Mwonzora said if people rejected the draft constitution it would be a set-back for the country.

“If the people say no to the proposed new constitution, it will be a tragedy as we will go back to the current constitution,” Mwonzora said.

He said a drafting framework had been developed to guide the drafters during this stage of the process.

“The drafting process will be in two stages, the pre-drafting and the actual drafting,” he said. “The pre-drafting stage will take 15 days and will involve the extraction of constitutional principles from the 17 thematic areas in preparation for the actual drafting. The actual drafting will take 25 days.”

Zimbabwe parties to the inclusive government have disagreed over the methodology used in compiling district reports on the outreach process of the constitution-making. Mangwana said Zanu (PF) preferred quantitative while the MDC formations favoured the qualitative method.

Mangwana said the COPAC management committee would meet on Monday to resolvethe dispute and “other issues such as production of district, provisional and national reports”.

Upon the completion of district reports, the data will be fed into provincial templates to reflect the views gathered during the constitution outreach meetings.

Post published in: Politics

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