Zimbabwe Constitutional Process Stalls

Harare, – Zimbabwe’s constitution making process has temporarily stalled following massive disagreements among the country’s main political parties over the approach to use to analyse the people’s views gathered last year by the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC).\r\n

Zanu (PF) politicians have suggested that the thematic committees meeting in Harare should use the quantitative approach while the two MDCs are supporting the qualitative approach to analyse the data collected from the people of Zimbabwe during the constitutional outreach process.

Thematic Committee members gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre have temporarily downed the tools waiting for the management committee’s decision on the matter.

COPAC co-chairperson Paul Mangwana confirmed that there were some disagreements over the way forward but they would meet with their counterparts from the two MDC formations and resolve the issue.

“We are now at a very critical stage of the process and we have to move fast and take charge of the situation,” said Mangwana.

Radio VOP has it on good authority that the two MDC formations are against the quantitative approach mainly because the rural areas had more meetings while the all urban wards were accorded one meeting per ward. Most rural areas are Zanu (PF) strongholds and the majority of the people were coached to give out the party’s positions on the constitution during the outreach period.

“There are 3 to 4 meetings per ward in rural areas while urban areas were given one meeting per ward which clearly give Zanu (PF) an added advantage against the other parties,” said one thematic committee member who decline to be named.

Another COPAC co-chairperson and MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora would not respond to his cell phone since he was reported to be attending a meeting at the party’s headquarters Harvest House.

Copac co-chair Edward Mkhosi confirmed there is a crisis at the thematic committee meeting but said it was still too early to ring alarm bells.

“Am at a crucial meeting right now,” he said. “It’s too early …It would be better if you wait until I get a full briefing of what has happened.”

The thematic committee meetings started on May 2, 2011 and were expected to run until May 18, 2011 after which the constitution making process would move to the drafting stage.