Principals to meet over draft-constitution

HARARE – Zimbabwean coalition government principals will call a GPA principals meeting to finalise possible amendments to the country’s draft new constitution, a spokesman has confirmed.

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George Charamba said the draft, completed last month, had now handed over to the GPA principals by Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga who chairs the COPAC Management Committee at government level.

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“What has happened to date is that the Copac team has concluded its consultations and originated a draft and as so demanded of it has submitted it to the Management Committee,” Charamba told The Herald.

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“The Management Committee in turn and through Matinenga has submitted a reworked draft to the principals (and) the expectation was that the principals (would) consult their respective constituencies in anticipation of a meeting of principals scheduled into the future.”

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The MDC parties have endorsed the document while Zanu PF finished its examination of the document last week and recommended a number of changes before charter is put to a national referendum.

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Charamba said Mugabe would now call a principals meeting to discuss their respective parties’ positions.

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“I believe this consultative process has been undertaken and albeit to different timetables with President Mugabe being the last one to finish,” he said.

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“While the President has not favoured me with specific day or date, he has intimated to me that he will be asking fellow principals to attend the much-awaited meeting of principals to discuss the draft Constitution.

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“I am sure each of the principals will be bringing to bear on the meeting concerns gathered from consultations I have alluded to.”

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Last week Mugabe said more work was needed on the draft after Zanu PF objected to provisions relating running mates, dual citizenship and same-sex marriages among a number of other clauses.

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But MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti, said the draft was final adding his party would block any changes.

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Once the GPA principals have deliberated on the draft Constitution it would then be taken to the Second All Stakeholders before taken to Parliament, which could also make further changes.

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From Parliament the document will be given to President Mugabe who will put it to a referendum leading to new elections which are now expected next year.

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