"We expect the parliamentary committee leading the process to visit South Africa and enlist the people’s participation, like what was done in the 1999 Referendum," said MDC publicity secretary Sibanengi Dube in a statement.

"To avoid amending the constitution every day, the process should be as inclusive as possible," said MDC SA publicity secretary Sibanengi Dube.

Dube said there are about three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, and another two million settled in the UK, the US and elsewhere.

Excluding them would be "unfortunate, unconstitutional and disturbing" and would render the process futile.

The party said it was logistically difficult to get Zimbabweans to travel to Zimbabwe to participate, and it was worried that there appeared to be nothing established in South Africa to suggest that Zimbabweans will be able to participate by the July 9 start.

According to Agence France Presse, Zimbabwe will start public hearings on the new constitution, one of the conditions of the power sharing deal with Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF.

The process is expected to take 18 months, with a draft to be tabled in Parliament next February, followed by a referendum in July.- SAPA