Zimbabwe has no money for Constitutional reform

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s attempts to craft a new constitution could be stalled by critical shortage of money to fund the expensive programme that is pivotal in the success of the delicate inclusive government, hence the unity goveryment want to use the cheap way of smuggling a document written by Welshman Ncube, Patrick Chinamasa and Tendai Biti.\r\n

An urgent distress call has been issued to the international community to salvage the potential explosive process.

Speaker of Parliament Lovemore  Moyo, in announcing a 25 member parliamentary team to oversee the process appealed for assistance.

"The constitution making process will require substantial financial and human resources," Lovemore Moyo.

Moyo said it is “fervent hope that development agencies and other foreign organisations will take as much interest, if not more, as they took in the challenges that our country has been facing and contribute financial and material resources in support of the work of the select committee."

When asked by reporters how much it would cost, he simple said “it would run into thousands of dollars” adding that his office is still finalising on the exact budget for the process.

The limited resource that would be availed to the commission, observers say would not be enough to see the committee covering all parts of the country.

Currently, Zimbabwe’s begging bowel that it sent out to SADC to jump start its economy is still empty.

“It would be more of a Harare thing. Rural areas would be left out in the consultative processes unlike the 1999 attempt where it was well oiled” said Steven Marwara in Harare.

The 25-member committee  is drawn from both Zanu-PF and the two formations of the MDC that will oversee the drafting of a new constitution.

But there was no room for the controversial Professor Jonathan Moyo.

Zimbabwe is still governed by the 1979 Lancaster House Constitution that has been amended a record 19 times.
Civic organizations led by the National Constitutional Assembly have stated that the whole process is flawed saying it is not
people-driven.

The drafting of new constitution is expected to lead to free and fair elections in 18 to 24 months once the supreme law is signed into law by the president.

Under the terms of a unity deal signed last year, the select committee that will steer the new constitution making process will embark on a four month consultation process after which a draft constitution shall be tabled to an all-stakeholders conference not later than February 13th 2010.

Zimbabwe last held a constitutional referendum in 2000 where Zimbabweans with the backing of  NCA and other civil society organizations  MDC, successfully campaigned against a government-sponsored draft.