Zimbabwe: Constitutional hearing postponed

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Zanu-pf’s parliamentary caucus who this week forced the postponement of constitutional hearing say most people in the rural areas are still harvesting.
The process was due to begin Saturday. Their claims have been rejected by the two MDC factions.

According to Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo his party members in parliament felt that hearings should be postponed because they had not been fully publicised. “We are in the midlle of the haarvesting season, “most
people are still in the fields” he said.

“This is not a resolution, but a request to be taken to the select committee’s co-chairpersons. MPs said they need more time to concertise people about this outreach programme through the radio and pamphlets (…) The other thing is that they felt that most people are still in the fields. ”

Their request, however, seems to have been rejected by MPs from the two
MDC factions who are keen to keep to a two-year timeline agreed by the
leaders of the unity government which should deliver a new constitution by the end of 2010.

At a rushed press briefing today, co-chairperson of the select comittee announced a revised timetable for the process. It would now begin on June 24.

However, MDC-T co-chair for the select committee Douglas Mwonzora said it was critical that the process be done expeditiously so that the committee remains within the stipulated time frame.

“We shall be meeting as a select committee soon to discuss that proposal and a lot will depend on the reasons why they want it deferred but from our MDC stand point we don’t see any justification. One of the reasons that had been cited was that of resources and that should fall away because our donors had made available money that even exceeds our budget for these initial programmes,” said Mwonzora.

Parliament has appointed a select committee to spearhead the constitution making process where it will gather views from civic society, churches, political parties and students among other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, a demonstrastion by angry civil society was blokced by
state security organs this morning.

Civil society says the move by Zanu PF shows that it is still in control in the process as they regard MDC as a junior partner in the inclusive government.

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