The country’s draft constitution is now only expected to be ready for a referendum by December and not September, as originally set at the beginning of this year, a co-chairman of the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) said on Thursday.
The new charter is meant to clear the way for fresh polls following the country’s bloody 2008 elections, but the drafting process is running months behind after public outreach meetings were repeatedly postponed over outbreaks of violence.
Now divisions between the parties in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) have created more delays in the drafting of the new constitution. MDC-T’s Douglas Mwonzora, co-chairman of COPAC, told SW Radio Africa the September deadline was no longer possible.
Mwonzora said they told the visiting South African facilitation team, who are still in the country, that the new deadline would be 31 st December. COPAC was represented at the meeting with the facilitators on Thursday by Mwonzora ( MDC-T) and co-chairs Paul Magwana (ZANU PF) and Edward Mkhosi ( MDC-N).
‘In January we had a meeting with the facilitation team where we indicated that the referendum would be ready by 30 September. We are all agreed this is no longer practical because of two factors,’ Mwonzora said.
‘Firstly the delays have been caused by continuous bickering and failure to adhere to agreed positions by the political parties. This is causing a lot of delays in the conclusion of this exercise. The second issue is that of funding. People should understand that everything in the roadmap is now dependent on the completion of the constitution,’ Mwonzora added.
As a result, the facilitation team, comprising Mac Maharaj, Lindiwe Zulu and accompanied by the South Africa Ambassador to Zimbabwe, told the COPAC trio they would take the issue of funding to SADC with a view to getting help from the regional bloc.
Zuma’s team on Wednesday held marathon meetings with negotiators to check on the progress made by party negotiators towards crafting a roadmap for free and fair elections.
Full Article: COPAC deadline for a referendum now 31 December.