Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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COPAC temporarily halts drafting of new constitution

COPAC temporarily halts drafting of new constitution

By Tichaona Sibanda
14 June 2011

Any hopes of Zimbabwe having a referendum by September this year have been 
dashed, following COPAC’s decision to temporarily halt the drafting of a new 

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us the delays in securing the $1.8 
million to complete the exercise have forced COPAC to scale down its 
operations. This includes the relocation of its secretariat back to their 
Milton Park offices from the Harare International Conference Centre, where 
they’ve been based for the last two months.

‘While the thematic committee stage, which was tasked with putting data into 
respective thematic sections is now complete, there were expectations the 
exercise would move straight to the next phase.

‘The next stage involves compiling a draft for the new constitution but lack 
of funds has forced COPAC to ask delegates to check out of their hotels,’ 
Muchemwa said.

Rapporteurs, researchers and analysts were paid for their services last week 
Friday but are still owed $500 each. Muchemwa said that in order to avoid 
accumulating huge bills from hotels while the delegates were virtually doing 
nothing, COPAC thought it was wise to send them home.

A timetable released by COPAC in January this year envisaged that if all 
went well the country could go for a referendum in September.

But Muchemwa said; ‘With all these delays, I think it’s becoming 
increasingly clear that the constitution wont be ready by September or even 
the end of this year.’

Parties in the Global Political Agreement were hopeful the writing of the 
constitution would be completed before the end of the year, with elections 
expected in the first quarter of 2012. However, ZANU PF was pushing for a 
poll even without the adoption of a new constitution. But this move was 
crushed by the SADC summit held in Johannesburg on Sunday, at which the 
parties were urged to hold elections only after the adoption of a new 



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