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‘People must decide on sticky constitution issues’

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PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T yesterday said Copac should organise a referendum for people to decide on sticky issues Zanu PF wants incorporated into the draft constitution than allow Global Political Agreement (GPA) principals to hijack the process.

REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA CHIEF REPORTER

The contentious issues that Zanu PF insists should not be incorporated into the draft constitution include devolution and dual citizenship, to mention a few, but the MDC-T maintained these could be dealt with through a referendum asking specific questions regarding each issue.

MDC-T spokesperson and Copac co-chair Douglas Mwonzora said Zanu PF wanted to force amendments on issues that the GPA partners –President Robert Mugabe, PM Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara — had negotiated and agreed on for close to two years as “parked issues”.

“It’s allowed to put to a referendum, targeting specific issues, not to have the same political parties negotiate same things they agreed on,” Mwonzora said.

“The issues were resolved to finality and so putting the same issues before the same political parties will not help. It will be an exercise in futility. The position of the MDC-T is that it is now decision time for the people of Zimbabwe through a referendum.”

Mwonzora’s statements came at a time the constitution-making process has stalled following last week’s dispute on the way forward regarding the draft governance charter and the report of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference.

Zanu PF members in the Copac management committee last week reportedly demanded that the draft and the report of the conference be sent to the GPA principals who would then direct Copac on the way forward. But the MDC-T and the Welshman Ncube-led MDC insisted that the process remained Parliament–driven, in accordance with Article 6 of the GPA.

Zanu PF Copac co-chair Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said principals should decide the way forward because Copac could not present a report and draft constitution whose contents were being contested.

Mwonzora, however, shot down the claims saying: “There are no outstanding issues of substance. The problem is with Zanu PF who wants Copac to incorporate all its amendments as proposed by its delegates at conference. Its recommendations failed to achieve the unanimity of delegates. Their proposals for amendments failed and there is no need to change the draft constitution produced by Copac.”

He added if Copac failed to break the deadlock, the matter would be referred to Sadc, the guarantor of Zimbabwe’s fragile coalition government.

“The issue is whether the political parties are at liberty to change the provisions of the GPA at any time,” he said.

Addressing MDC-T supporters in Buhera at the weekend, Tsvangiriai also said: “I am saying let Copac finish its job and take the constitution to Parliament and not to President Robert Mugabe or Tsvangirai.”

Mugabe last month hinted that principals would wrest the constitution-making process from Copac to ensure its speedy conclusion ahead of general elections expected next March.

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