Final draft ready

HARARE - The Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) has ruled out any further amendments to the constitution draft.

A draft constitution is now ready after drafters and Copac chairpersons yesterday managed to incorporate changes that were agreed to by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, bringing to an end a costly process that has chewed close to $50 million since 2009.

Douglas Mwonzora, co-chairperson of Copac, told the Daily News the draft is now ready for a formal adoption by a full Copac committee on Monday before it is rushed to Parliament for what is likely to be a rubber-stamping process.

“We have factored all the changes as agreed during the Second All-Stakeholders’ meeting and also those changes that were brought by the Principals.

“We have finished proof reading and the document is now ready to go to the full select committee on Monday for adoption,” said Mwonzora.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have agreed to a raft of changes in the draft constitution that among other things whittles presidential powers and also clips wings of the military.

The changes, seen by Zanu PF hardliners as a concession to the MDC, have stoked fears that Zanu PF could make another about-turn and renege on what has already been agreed to.

However, Mwonzora said no further editing or alteration to the draft will be accepted.

“We are not opening this constitution for any further debate. Those who wanted to put their views in the constitution had enough time to do so. Now is the time to give the draft back to the people,” said Mwonzora.

Mwonzora said copies of the draft constitution are also going to be given to Mugabe and Tsvangirai and all members of the management committee.

With Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who lead the two leading political powers in terms of popular support agreed to back the draft, a referendum is likely to be a formality.

Since the process was led by Parliament, legislators will only make comments on the draft and will not alter anything, Mwonzora said.

After the draft is taken to Parliament, Mugabe will use the Lancaster House Constitution to proclaim dates for a referendum in a government gazette.

If the majority of Zimbabweans vote in support of the draft, it will then be taken back to Parliament for Eric Matinenga, the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister to steer the constitutional Bill.

After Parliament adopts the Bill it would be sent to Mugabe for assent.

Once the President has assented, the Bill would now become law upon gazetting.

A new constitution is one among a cocktail of reforms that Sadc guarantors of the unity government say should be implemented before elections are held.

Mugabe has backed down from his earlier threats to go for elections with or without a new constitution.

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