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‘No money to translate constitution’


CONSTITUTIONAL and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga yesterday said funds had not yet been availed to translate the draft constitution into indigenous languages before the referendum.


He said the principals were also yet to meet to decide on the dates of the referendum.

“I would like to see the draft constitution being translated into indigenous languages before it is taken to a referendum,” said Matinenga in an interview with NewsDay.

“However, money has not been made available and the course of events in the constitution-making process will be dictated by availability of money.”

Matinenga said it was important that people study the contents of the draft constitution in their indigenous languages as happened in South Africa where citizens were each given a copy of the draft translated in their local language for them to understand it before a referendum was held.

He, however, said he did not have the exact figure of the amount that would be needed to translate the draft constitution.

“I cannot really say the referendum will be held at the end of March (as the media has reported) because it is simply speculation.  The principals are yet to give a date as they have to consult and agree on it,” he said.

The new draft constitution is expected to be brought before Parliament for endorsement next week when the House resumes sitting.

Matinenga said Parliament would not make any changes to the draft and its presentation before the House was merely a technical procedure.

“The Copac Select Committee will hand over the draft to Parliament to say what it has done as part of meeting the terms of Article 6 of the GPA. A Constitution Bill will be brought to Parliament after the referendum and it will seek to translate the draft constitution into law,” he said.

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