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CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE COALITION TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING ON THE CONSTITUTION ON WEDNESDAY 29 AUGUST 2012

The crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition will hold a public meeting on the deadlock on the constitution making process at Crowne Plaza Hotel on Wednesday 29 August 2012 from 17:30-19:00 hrs. The objective of the meeting is to provide a platform for key players in the constitution making process to share their perspectives and views on the deadlock so as to enhance the national conversation on the constitution making process.

An official deadlock has been declared on the constitution making process by the parties in the inclusive government. The deadlock has triggered the actioning of a resolution of The 32nd SADC Summit in Maputo, where SADC tasked the facilitation team to help resolve any major sticking points that emerge around the constitution making process. To that end the facilitators are expected in the country on Tuesday 28 August 2012.

Following the finalization of the draft by COPAC, to which all parties in the inclusive government had appended their signatures on every page, the two formations of the MDC adopted the draft as is and referred further input to the second all stake holders' conference. ZANU PF, through its politburo, made sweeping amendments to the draft, with some analysts suggesting they produced a completely new draft all together. ZANU PF has since submitted their proposed draft to its partners in the inclusive government for consideration and have hinted that they will not "move an inch" on demands. The two MDC formations have vowed not to re-negotiate the draft constitution with ZANU PF and described the actions of ZANU PF as "an insult not only to the constitution making process but to the people of Zimbabwe". The deadlock and questions around whether it can be resolved or not, has plunged the the previously slow but fairly predictable COPAC process in to an unpredictable and uncertain epoch.

Analysts have said that the current deadlock may be an attempt by hard liners in ZANU PF to 'push for elections under the Lancaster House constitution' which gives the ruling party an upper hand in the forthcoming elections. ZANU PF has alleged that the COPAC draft was crafted 'to fulfil the regime change agenda and to please the imperial masters in Europe and America' by the two MDC's. While these maybe the actiual reasons for the deadlock, substantively the deadlocks have manifested in the form of diagreements between the COPAC draft and the ZANU PF draft on the following issues: dual citizenship, powers of the president, Prosecuting Authority, youth service, devolution, establishment of a separate constitutional court and presidential running mates.

42 months of work and US$40 million dollars in tax payers' and donor money later, the public remains with many unanswered questions. The key question being: "Are the squabbles on the constitution making process in the public interest or political scheming ahead of the forthcoming elections". There has been speculation that a compromise may be to put both drafts to a referendum, what are the legal and political connotations of such a move?

It is with this background that the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has organised this talk show to provide a platform for the general public to understand and ask questions on the positions of the political parties in the inclusive government and perspectives of civil society on the disagreements. The talk show will be hosted by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Vice Chairperson Ms Grace Nachipo Chirenje and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Director Mr. McDonald Lewanika (provisionally) under the topic: Understanding the COPAC draft constitution stalemate: An exercise in safeguarding citizens input and preservation of our democracy, or attempts at railroading the nation into an election under the Lancaster House Constitution? Who has the power to decide on final draft? What is the possible way forward"?

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