Referendum unlikely this year - Copac
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In an interview, Copac co-chairperson, Mr Douglas Mwonzora from MDC-T, said due to Zanu-PF's protestations the referendum was now "almost impossible" this year and an October date "clearly unrealistic".
"The referendum looks likely to be delayed and in my view it is now almost impossible to have it this year because Zanu-PF is unhappy about a number of issues. Having the referendum in October is now definitely clearly unrealistic because of the issues raised by Zanu-PF," Mr Mwonzora said.
Mr Mwonzora said he was clueless on when a referendum would be held.
He said: "This is unacceptable but as we always say it's a Zanu-PF fault and a Zanu-PF design. They have never wanted a new constitution and they do not respect the will of the people. As things stand, I no longer have an idea when the long-awaited referendum will be held."
Mr Edward Mkhosi, the Copac co-chair from the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC, said "it will be difficult" for the referendum to be held this year.
"Of great concern to us is that we went through the draft constitution chapter by chapter and clause by clause with our Zanu-PF colleagues. Whenever they had problems we allowed them to consult their party, we finalised this draft with them. But now that we are through Zanu-PF says it does not agree with the final draft.
"We have a delicate situation here in that for the constitution-making process to go ahead and for a referendum to take place there should be a consensus. Without a consensus nothing will happen. Zanu-PF can scupper the process and we might not have a referendum this year. We made this draft together and we are supposed to sing from the same hymnbook but sadly Zanu-PF is speaking a different language. So it will be difficult to organise a referendum this year," said Mr Mkhosi.
Mr Mkhosi said the delay in the finalisation of the draft constitution and the holding of the referendum must not be blamed on Copac.
"Zanu-PF should accept responsibility for the referendum. As Copac we have done our part, we consulted where consultations were needed and we rectified issues that needed rectification. Let us not be blamed for the impasse," said Mr Mkhosi.
Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana Copac co-chairperson from Zanu-PF dismissed his counterparts' objections as "their opinions" and said it was premature to rule out a referendum this year.
"That is their opinion and I would not like to be involved in a war of words with fellow Copac officials. We have not met as Copac to review whether we will be able to meet the deadline since the draft constitution was presented to the principals and parties. So it will be premature to have any position on the referendum," said Cde Mangwana.
Cde Mangwana revealed that Copac would have a position on the constitution next week after a management committee meeting.
"I can only be able to say whether the referendum is unlikely or likely next week. We are having a management committee meeting next week after we have met and discussed the issue about the constitution we will communicate our position as Copac," he said.
The Zanu-PF politburo recently rejected the draft constitution, deeming it undesirable and drew up a number of proposed changes. The party said it was behind the draft constitution but was unhappy about a number of "grey areasâ€ as the Copac document left out "quite a number of things that were raised by people during the outreach programme".
Zanu-PF has demanded a number of amendments. It wants homosexuality and same sex marriages to be explicitly outlawed and dual citizenship to be banned.
The party also wants a requirement under the proposed constitution that says presidential candidates must appoint running mates scrapped. Zanu-PF says it prefers the winning presidential candidate to name his/her vice-presidents.
Proposals to dilute the Attorney General's office by creating a national prosecuting authority were also rejected. The AG must retain prosecuting powers and also remain a member of Cabinet.
Zanu-PF is also recommending changes to a provision establishing a stand-alone Constitutional Court. The party says the court must be established under the Supreme Court and be staffed by Supreme Court judges.
It also does not want provincial governors to be elected but to be appointed, as is the case.
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