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Zanu PF deadlocked

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The Zanu PF politburo on Wednesday again failed to come up with a position on the draft constitution amid indications hawks in the party have stepped up their fight to have the process abandoned.

The party’s secretariat chaired by President Robert Mugabe was meeting for the third time to discuss the draft. Last Friday the meeting lasted until the early hours of Saturday morning.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, the Zanu PF chief negotiator in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) talks, as well as the party’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told journalists after the last meeting the politburo had endorsed 97% of the draft. The meeting on Wednesday, the officials had said, would be used to wrap up the discussions allowing Zanu PF to make its position on the draft public.

But cracks started to emerge on Tuesday with Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo rubbishing claims that Zanu PF had agreed to 97% of the draft.

This set the tone for the meeting that again stretched into the early hours of yesterday.

Sources said the differences between Zanu PF’s GPA negotiators and the hawks who reportedly represent the interests of securocrats widened.
The hardliners reportedly led by Moyo, who was at the forefront of the failed attempt to rewrite Zimbabwe’s constitution at the turn of the millennium, came up with proposed amendments to the draft that could see the constitution-making process unravel. Sources said Zanu PF’s latest demands were not likely to be accepted by the two MDC formations that have already endorsed the draft. After a long debate that saw the differing parties drifting further apart, it was agreed the politburo would reconvene next Wednesday to continue the deliberations. The hawks want the provision allowing for dual citizenship to be scrapped in the draft, the sources said. They also want the constitution to be specific about “war veterans of the liberation struggle” as “war veterans alone would be subject to abuse by ex-Selous Scouts and Rhodesian soldiers”.
Sources said the hawks want the former fighters to be guaranteed free access to education and health. Gumbo yesterday refused to speak out on Wednesday’s deliberations, but confirmed that some in Zanu PF wanted an overhaul of the draft.

“We went through the draft and made indications on a lot of clauses that we think need to amended,” he said.

“We have not concluded and once we are through as a party, hopefully next week, we will present our proposals to the other parties in the inclusive government for consideration.”

Some in Zanu PF are also not happy with the proposals to create an independent prosecution authority and reduce the powers of the Attorney-General.

The hawks are also against proposals to create a Constitutional Court that would deal with electoral disputes, among other things.

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