GPA Negotiators to Finalise on Draft Constitution

Reports are awash that ZANU-PF wants fundamental changes in the draft constitution.

Last week Radio VOP disclosed that President Robert Mugabe’s party had come up with a 29-page document in which the party proposed several changes to the present draft, raising further fears the party intends sabotaging the constitution-making process.

ZANU-PF COPAC point-man Paul Mangwana, told state media on Thursday that over 200 issues disagreement had emerged.

But there is speculation ZANU-PF is making the outrageous proposals so as to delay the conclusion of the drafting of the new constitution, enabling its leader to unilaterally call for fresh polls under the negotiated Lancaster House constitution which has been amended nineteen times.

But Tendai Biti, the secretary- general of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Friday in an interview that chances were slim that the COPAC management would entertain the fresh issues being proposed by ZANU-PF to be belatedly incorporated in the draft.

Biti said as far as he was concerned the draft would sail through with minimal changes after three days of deliberations.

“We are going into the bush on Sunday until Wednesday and I am confident we will come up with the final draft of the new constitution for the people of Zimbabwe. We might be accused of coming up with a weak constitution but I tell you it is far much better than the current one we are using which has been amended several times,” said Biti.

“In the present draft constitution we have a fantastic bill of rights, freedom of the media and of expression, the National Prosecuting Authority among a host of other goods things that Zimbabweans have long wanted enshrined in their constitution,” added Biti, who is the MDC-T chief negotiator under the power-sharing truce signed between President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Asked if the COPAC management would bent over to accommodate the latest shocking ZANU-PF demands Biti said: “After haggling for so long trying to write this document, I don’t think we are even going to look into it.

“I know there are agents of chaos in ZANU-PF who want to sabotage the constitution-making but they will fail because when we emerge on Wednesday we will be having a new constitution because ZANU-PF people directly involved in the constitution-making process agree with us over what people want in their constitution.”

In the COPAC management committee ZANU-PF is represented by Emmerson Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche while the MDC-T has Biti and Elton Mangoma. The Welshman Ncube-led MDC is represented by Priscilla Misiharambwi-Mushonga, Edward Mkhosi and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu.

SADC has demanded the conclusion of a new constitution, a referendum on the new constitution and the full implementation of agreed issues under the GPA, including key media and electoral reforms, before the staging of fresh polls.