Constitution Referendum Set For September

Harare, – The Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) has set September 30 as the date to hold a referendum to choose a new constitution for Zimbabwe.\r\n

The committee held constitution outreach programmes throughout the country last year to gather views from the public amidst violence and chaos in some areas. Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora told RadioVOP that the date was agreed during a meeting by the committee on Wednesday.

He said from next Monday rapporteurs will for two weeks start putting together the data that was gathered during the outreach programmes on the computer. They will spend another two months collating the data. After that, there would be thematic committee deliberations that will go up to end of March.

"We will then put the information before a drafting committee who will look at it until end of April. The referendum must take place by the 30th of September,” said Mwonzora.

Mwonzora however said recurrent resource constraints may further force Copac to adjust its timelines.

“We were clear that the fulfilment of these timelines depends on the provision of resources. We are still worried that resources are not made available to us on time and as we speak the resources that we have are only resources on paper from the government and donors although we are holding resources for uploading only.”

President Robert Mugabe of Zanu (PF) and leader of the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai had agreed to an election next year.

However Tsvangirai has insisted on a presidential election only after the new constitution is in place. Mugabe wants both presidential and parliamentary elections by midyear because he said he did not want the life of the unity government adopted in 2009 extended. His Zanu (PF) party hinted that this may not be possible if the new constitution is not yet in place.