Zim's Draft Constituition Ready By Mid-April – Matinenga

Appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice, Lega Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Matinenga said the drafters who were once stopped doing their work due to disagreements are back at work and are being guided by the co-chairs of the three political parties on any sticking issues.

“The constitution making process is activity driven than time driven.I think we will be able to have a draft constitution which we will take to the second all stakeholders conference in mid-April or end of April. I am hoping that we must have a referendum maybe the earliest will be September this year,”Matinenga said.

“I am glad to report that we are making progress. The drafters are now back at work. This time the drafters are going to be housed in the same building with the co-chairs of the constitutional making process. This is to make sure that if the drafters have anything that they want to be addressed, the co-chairs will be there to respond.”

The new constitution will pave way for fresh elections in Zimbabwe if people approve it in a referendum.

Matinenga said some of the sticking issues in the constitution making process included the death penalty, devolution of power and citizenship. He said the death penalty issue has been resolved while the ‘devolution’ issue is agreed in principle. On the citizenship the parties are still to agree how a citizen will be defined.

Matinenga also appraised legislators on the $50, 000 Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which was given to legislators to develop their constituencies. He said his ministry has already audited 65 constituencies.

Matinenga said he disagreed with the Attorney General’s office statements or order that the Anti-Corruption Commission must stop its probe on MPs who are alleged to have misused the funds. However, he said not all the MPs abused the funds saying some progress was made in some constituencies.
 
“The CDF has certainly made remarkable difference in some places I have been to. For someone to say nothing was done is very unfortunate,” he said.

Matinenga said MPs who abused the CDF will be prosecuted although there is no direct legislation that deals specifically on the abuse of the CDF.