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Cape Town - Finally, Zimbabwe has a draft constitution which will go to a referendum in the next few months.
It has taken three years and more than R400-million to produce, and it falls short of what each political party wanted as massive compromises were made by both the Movement for Democratic Change parties, and Zanu-PF.
Zanu-PF has had to accept term limits, not only for the president, but for heads of parastatals and permanent secretaries. Since independence in 1980, these positions were seen as posts for life and all the present heads, even in the inclusive government, are known to be strong Zanu-PF supporters.
New for Zimbabweans will be a separate prosecuting authority which diminishes the power of the office of the attorney-general, which has, even during the life of the inclusive government pursued hundreds of prosecutions of Movement for Democratic Change supporters. The overwhelming majority of those prosecutions failed in the courts and the few that succeeded were overturned on appeal.
There are also term limits for all the security force chiefs.
Presidential powers are reduced, but South Africans may be surprised to learn that the president can prevent legislation even after it has passed through Parliament.
Many Zimbabwean journalists will be disappointed that the controversial media commission has been retained and that Zimbabwe will continue to disallow dual nationality. Surprisingly, the MDC did not push for dual nationality to be enshrined in the constitution.
It will take a two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend this constitution, which replaces the charter drawn up in London in 1979 when the country was engaged in civil war. - Independent Foreign Service