Principals meet over constitution

HARARE - Prospects of a breakthrough in the constitution-making process logjam hinge on today’s meeting between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two MDC formations led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube.

Mugabe, in agreement with Tsvangirai, has set up a special Cabinet committee in order break the constitution impasse.

However, a meeting that was scheduled for yesterday, failed to take-off after representatives from the Tsvangirai-led MDC excused themselves in order to attend the funeral of Home Affairs Minister, Theresa Makone’s daughter.

Paul Mangwana, who is co-chairperson of the parliamentary constitutional committee (Copac) said the meeting would be held today.

“The meeting was postponed because our colleagues from MDC had gone to attend a funeral. Delays can happen if you have a coalition government,” said Mangwana.

The committee has seven members, with Eric Matinenga, minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, as the convenor and chairperson.

It also comprises three Cabinet ministers, Patrick Chinamasa, the minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, minister of Regional Integration and Cooperation, minister of Finance Tendai Biti and the three Copac co-chairpersons Douglas Mwonzora, Edward Mkosi and Mangwana.

The committee was set up at the instigation of Mugabe after his party had brought its own draft constitution that was castigated by coalition partners who said the amended draft deviated from what people had said during the outreach programme.

At the Second All-Stakeholders Conference held in October, Mugabe declared that the Principals — himself, Tsvangirai and Ncube — would have a final say in the constitution-making process and true to his word, the process is now in the hands of the executive.

The whole constitution-making process has been characterised by delays and deadlocks since it began in 2009, and according to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) the process is two years behind schedule.

Misihairambwi told the Daily News that the meeting had been postponed because of the “tragedy” that had befallen the Makone family.

“We are going to meet tomorrow (today),” said Misihairambwi.

Mwonzora from the Tsvangirai-led MDC said they expect movement after the meeting.

“Yes the meeting was postponed because of the funeral but we hope that after tomorrow’s meeting, there is going to be movement in the constitution-making process.”

A new constitution is regarded by Sadc as the basic foundation for holding free and fair elections which Mugabe is adamant would be held in March 2013.

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