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Mwonzora defends draft

Copac co-chair Douglas Mwonzora hailed Zim’s draft constitution for having the most comprehensive Bill of Rights compared to other constitutions in Africa.

Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora has hailed the country’s draft constitution for having the most comprehensive Bill of Rights compared to other constitutions in Africa.

Report by Staff Reporter Speaking during the Second National Residents’ Associations’ Conference on the constitution in Bulawayo last Friday, Mwonzora said the draft document contained positive aspects on labour and devolution of power. “We have discovered throughout the drafting stage that Zimbabwe’s draft constitution is the longest on the African continent and hence in the world with 175 pages,” he said. “Our Bill of Rights is also the longest and most comprehensive Bill of Rights on the African continent.” Mwonzora said due to this, he was positive of a “Yes” vote in the forthcoming referendum. “There are certain issues which have been included in the draft constitution, which have never been there, for instance, labour rights,” he said. “It is the first time in the history of Zimbabwe to include labour rights in the constitution.We also have the issue of devolution where we have included objectives, principles and structures of devolution. “Therefore, this is the best draft constitution we have so far in Zimbabwe and I am confident that the people will not reject it and they will vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum.” “We did not have any deadlock, negotiations were based on three fundamentals. The first being inconclusiveness of data, the desire to benchmark the draft constitution against best constitutions in the world and contradictory ideas in various chapters.” “The number of people on the ground did not tally with the information we gathered, meaning there were a lot of loopholes. For example, people spoke of devolution, but they did not say what kind of devolution they wanted.” “In such instances, we then sought international best constitution practices to fill in the gaps.”