Another deadlock hits COPAC draft
By Tichaona Sibanda
There’s been another deadlock at the ongoing COPAC talks after the MDC
formations refused to re-negotiate issues they had agreed on as parties to
A highly placed source told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the management
committee working on the synchronization of the draft had come stuck on
issues to do with devolution, the national prosecuting authority, the truth
and reconciliation commission and the land commission.
‘The MDC formations stuck to their guns that they would not revisit issues
that they agreed to and signed as all parties on 18th July. They maintain
that would be taking the process backwards,’ the source said.
In an effort to break the logjam, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Eric Matinenga, who is chair of this committee, recommended that
they meet again on Monday.
Meanwhile the principals to the GPA have now accepted that the drafting of
the new constitution is a parliamenatry led process,’ the MDC-T spokeman
Douglas Mwonzora has said.
This follows threats by President Robert Mugabe two months ago to take
charge of the charter, during COPAC’ second All-Stakeholders conference in
Mugabe caused a stir when he declared that only the principals, and not MPs,
have power over the process.
He argued that the principals in the inclusive government had the final say
on the draft constitution as they were the ones who conceived the GPA that
resulted in the current constitution making process.
But Mwonzora, who is also the COPAC co-chair representing the MDC-T, said
all the principals wanted was to facilitate dialogue to find a breakthrough
to the deadlock that had stalled the process.
‘There was an impasse and the principals unlocked this by appointing a
leaner committee to work on the draft. When work on the charter is complete
we will simultaneously send the principals a report and to parliament a
draft of the constitution,’ Mwonzora said.
The Nyanga MP added that there are only two stages before the constitution
is finalised. The first stage is the presentation of the draft to
parliament, which they hope to do before the Christmas break. He warned that
this depended on parties finding a common ground on current discussions to
come out with a final draft.
‘After that, the state must advise us on the date of the referendum. The
sequence is report to parliament first, which will take just a day and then
have a referendum date.
‘As COPAC we will advocate for time between the declaration of the
referendum date and the actual day to allow for voter and civic education.
People must be conscientized on what the referendum is all about so that
they vote with their eyes open,’ he said.