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First Draft Constitution Completed:Copac

First Draft Constitution Completed:Copac

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Harare, February 09, 2012 – The Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) on 
the constitution making process on Thursday said the first draft of the new 
charter has been completed by the principal drafters of the new 
constitution.

Edward Mkhosi co-chairperson of Copac told journalists at a press briefing 
in Harare that other issues in the draft constitution that include 
presidential term limits, age limit for presidential candidates are still to 
be deliberated by the constitution making body.

“We would want to inform the nation that the principal drafters have 
produced the first draft constitution of the new constitution of Zimbabwe,” 
Mkhosi said. “They are now reviewing (the draft constitution) with the 
assistance of technical experts. The draft proposal is work in progress 
until it is approved by Copac.”

There have been suggestions that all presidential candidates above the age 
of 70 years and those who have served two terms before as President must be 
barred from contesting in any election. President Robert Mugabe is the only 
leader that the country has had since independence and is expected to turn 
88 this month.

“It is therefore premature at this stage to conclude that Zimbabweans, 
through the outreach consultations stated that people who have served at 
least two terms and those above the age of 70 will not be able to contest in 
the presidential elections,”Mkhosi said.

“The Select Committee has not yet deliberated on among other issues the age 
limit or the terms of the office of the President.”

Meanwhile, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) on Tuesday listed a 
number of demands that include a new constitution and a equal access to 
media to all political actors that must be met by the unity government 
before fresh elections are held in the country.

Madock Chivasa, NCA spokesperson said a democratic constitution that is 
supported by an independent and impartial electoral body must be in place 
before fresh polls are held as demanded by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF 
party.

“Fully believing that all elections in Zimbabwe remain illegitimate and 
without merit until undertaken under a new democratic and people-driven 
constitution, the people should demand elections under a new constitutional 
dispensation.,” Chivasa said.

“We will continue pressurising the present government to come up with an 
independent commission to consult people on the views they want to be 
included in the constitution. A democratic people driven constitution will 
guarantee Zimbabweans of free and fair election that are violent free.”

The NCA said they want “one independent, impartial, accountable and 
well-resourced electoral management body” and that the process of 
delimitation or demarcation of constituencies must be done in a transparent 
manner that is “free from political control.” The pressure group said the 
voters roll must be easily accessible and that voter education must be done 
with the participation of civic society.

“Transparent and neutral location of polling stations, agreed to through a 
national consultative process devoid of undue ruling or opposition party and 
government influence, which are accessible to all including those with 
special needs,” Chivasa said.

“International, Regional and Local Observers and Monitors being permitted 
access to everyone involved in the electoral process.”

The NCA embarked on a programme called “Take charge” in the last two years 
urging Zimbabweans to reject the government led constitution making process 
saying the process is not people driven. The organisation which was formed 
in the late 90s said they will urge Zimbabweans to vote “No” at the 
referendum of the draft constitution being written.

The current constitution making process has been delayed in the last two 
years due to lack of resources, violent disturbances by Zanu PF supporters 
and disagreement among the main political parties on how the process should 
be done.

Sources have revealed that Zanu (PF) Copac co-chair Paul Mangwana is under 
fire from his party for allowing such a clause to be drafted in the 
document. This would have meant automatic disqualification for the 
88-year-old Mugabe who is Zanu (PF)’s Presidential candidate for the next 
election.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s sole ruler since attaining independence in 1980, was 
endorsed during the December party conference as the party’s candidate.

Mangwana denied he was under pressure from his party. “There is no pressure 
from anyone,” he said.

“The impression created is that Copac has taken a position on qualifications 
or disqualifications of the office of the President which is not 
correct…”.

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