Zim Constitutional Process Hit By Financial Crisis

The committee which held a meeting here on Tusday will reconvene Thursday to map a way forward for the constitution process that has been delayed by over eight months due to financial crisis, squabbling among committee members and violence.

President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai have already called for fresh elections next year. Critics have warned against holding an election before a new constitution is in place, fearing violence and an unfair election.

A referendum on the new constitution is due early next year to pave for the elections to replace the two year old coalition government, which was never fully implemented according to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and leader of the smaller MDC faction Arthur Mutambara.

The three leaders failed to agree on among others the swearing in of MDC treasurer general, Roy Bennett, as deputy minister of Agriculture, appointments of the new Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General.

It also emerged at the Tuesday COPAC meeting that the government had failed to avail required funds to complete the programme in Harare, disrupted by violence a month ago.

Copac spokesperson, Jessie Majome, said: “The meeting will come up with a plan of action and how to proceed with the abandoned Harare outreach meetings.”

Copac outreach meetings in Harare were last month abandoned after violence and chaos rocked the proceedings as youth — most of whom were apparently Zanu (PF) supporters — chased away suspected MDC -T supporters from the gatherings.

The disturbances led to the death of one MDC activist, Chrispen Mandizvidza at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare.

At least 40 of these meetings were scuttled by the orgy of violence unleashed by Zanu (PF) militia.

Majome confirmed that the government had failed to raise funds for the Harare outreach and said the management committee meeting would also discuss funding mechanisms for the remaining part of the exercise.

“Issues to do with funding the remainder of the constitution exercise are also expected to come under discussion at this meeting,” said Majome.

At the end of September COPAC announced stringent measures for implementation when the outreach programme resumes in Harare, to avoid a repeat of violence that occurred.

Some of the conditions recommended by the management committee include having the co-ministers of Home Affairs, Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi and Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri, draw up a detailed and tangible plan on how they are going to maintain law and order during the repeats of the outreach programmes.

COPAC said it would also demand co-operation from the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which had in the past refused to flight COPAC’s advertisements to announce venues for meetings.