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Parties meet to end constitution stalemate

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Representatives of political parties in the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) are expected to meet today to resolve “parked issues” that have stalled completion of the draft constitution.

According to Veritas, a Catholic magazine which monitors parliamentary programmes, the Copac management committee would hold meetings between today and Thursday to find a common position on devolution of power, among other outstanding issues.

“It is to be hoped they can resolve matters promptly — but there will be competing claims on the time of members who are ministers as there is Cabinet on Tuesday and Parliament as there are important Bills on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” said Veritas in a notice posted on its website yesterday.

A member of the Copac management committee, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu (MDC), confirmed the development.

“We have a meeting later this evening (yesterday), but since we were in Luanda last weekend, we are yet to meet other members of the committee and hear if any progress has been made on the parked issues,” he said.

“It is, however, possible that we will discuss the parked issues this week because the resolution of Sadc was that this thing (Constitution) should be done quickly.

“I am sure that the people who have been throwing spanners in the works will be keen to come to the negotiating table though I doubt if they will change their stance on the parked issues.”

Ndlovu said the negotiations around devolution were intense and disheartening at times.

“The devolution issue is being watered down. We settled for eight provinces instead of five,” he said.
“What we have now is an upgrade of the local government system already in force and not the devolution that we wanted.

“What we are left to debate now is the structure and last time, in the management committee meeting, others were saying we should have a governor who is elected by elected Members of Parliament from amongst themselves.

“We want a governor who is directly elected by the people and does not have to attend Parliament.
If we don’t win this one, we would have completely lost it.”

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