More Hurdles For Zim's Constitutional Making Process

The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee was informed that a tender had already been awarded. Dates to commence the outreach programmes will only be announced after this process.

The constitutional making process has been delayed by more than eight months due to lack of funding and infighting among others. Zimbabwe needs a new constitution to pave way for fresh elections.

The Committee also said the outreach talking points had been reduced to 30 questions to make them user-friendly and that these would be translated into indigenous languages.

It also came to light during the hearing that most outreach team members were not happy with the daily per diem rate of U$15. Hence the three parties were set to hold a joint caucus meeting to discuss the matter.

The outreach team is already in a quandary over a budget of US$2.9 million which has been demanded by the police in order to provide security.

Chairmen of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee, Paul Mangwana, Douglous Mwonzora and  Edward Mkhosi revealed this when they appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs on Tuesday.

The Portfolio Committee had invited the three to brief it on the security measures that had been put in place to ensure that the constitution making process was a success.

The Committee said the initial budget did not cater for the police as it was assumed that since the constitution-making process was a national event, it was therefore the statutory duty of the police force to provide security to its citizens.

The Committee said it was not in a position to meet the police demand as it did not have legal powers to vary a budget which has already been submitted to and agreed with the donors. The Co-Chairpersons further argued that they did not have the financial muscle to fundraise for a government department let alone recapitalise it by buying it 29 landrovers as was demanded by the ZRP. Furthermore, they did not want to give the impression that they were buying security when the ZRP was statutorily mandated to provide it.

The constitutional committee said it was praying treasury would provide the required financial resources to the ZRP, otherwise it would not make sense to approach donors with such a request. The committee said if there was no solution in sight, the co-chairpersons would take up the issue with the GPA Principals as a last resort.

There have been reports of violence in several parts of the country where it is alleged Zanu (PF), through its youth militia and war veterans, have set up torture bases warning people against contributing to the constitutional outreach team. Zanu (PF) is advocating for the Kariba draft, written by the three parties before the Inclusive government. The Movement for Democratic Change want people to contribute to the draft, to make it a more people driven constituition.

Some civil society members have been threatened with death if they engage in civic education about the constitution in the rural areas. Some organisations such as the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have boycotted the constitutional making process, saying it was being dominated by politicians and are running a parallel process.

The NCA successfully camapigned, for a rejection by the people, of a constitutional referendum in 2000.