Mugabe ally trashes draft constitution

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Copy of iol new spic mugabe REUTERS The Zimbabwe Diamond Conference was sponsored by President Robert Mugabe's government to highlight its emergence as a major player in the world diamond trade. Photo: Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe - An outspoken lawmaker of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's party on Tuesday rejected a new draft constitution that would rein in presidential powers as an attack on democracy.

“It strips the executive of all powers and leaves it as a clerical branch of government,” said Jonathan Moyo, a one-time spin doctor of Mugabe's and former information minister.

“This draft is an attack, quite a serious attack on our sovereignty, quite a serious attack on our democracy.”

The document will go to a referendum vote, most likely in October, and is a key reform demanded by regional mediators ahead of polls to end the uneasy ruling coalition between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Speaking at a discussion forum organised by IDASA, a Pretoria-based African democracy institute, Moyo said the ruling ZANU-PF had last week spent 18 hours combing through the document and is still discussing it.

The long delayed draft did not reflect the views expressed by ordinary Zimbabweans during an outreach programme but was a compromise between the main political parties, he said.

“If you ask what is it that is in the draft that raises problems, ... I am tempted to say everything. But if I say that it has 18 chapters, I can tell you that each of the 18 chapters has a problem.”

The draft plans to set down a presidential two-term limit of 10

years and strip any immunity from prosecution after leaving office.

Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980 with his term peppered with accusations of human right abuses.

He also criticised the regional power bloc SADC for continuing to “poke its nose” in the day-to-day running of the power-sharing government long after it brokered power.

The draft was finished this month by negotiators from the country's main political parties and has already been disputed by some analysts.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a coalition government in February 2009 after a disputed presidential poll run-off in June 2008. - Sapa-AFP


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