Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Zim draft charter cleared for referendum

07 February 2013, 09:55

Harare - Zimbabwe's parliament has been presented with a long-awaited draft constitution, opening the way for a referendum followed by elections this year in the southern African country.

The charter, which would restrict presidential powers, has taken more than three years to produce due to bickering between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the rival MDC.

The draft must become law to allow elections to take place under a power-sharing deal between Mugabe's party and rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

It was presented to parliament on Wednesday and Douglas Mwonzora, a leader of the parliamentary committee that produced the document, said it was not up for debate.

"This is a people's constitution and must go as quickly as possible to the people," Mwonzora said.

Disputed polls led to widespread violence in 2008.

Under the draft constitution, the president will be required to choose members of parliament to join a cabinet that would need to give their majority backing to any decrees limiting civil liberties.

The current constitution allows a president to enforce decrees for up to six months.

The president would be limited to two five-year terms, starting from the next election. This will not be applied retrospectively, so the 88-year-old Mugabe - in power since independence from Britain in 1980 - could technically rule for another two terms.

Stiff challenge

Mugabe will contest the next election despite questions over his advanced age and concerns over his health.

He will face a stiff challenge from the MDC, which is promising to revive an economy that shrank by an estimated 40% from 2000 to 2010 due largely to Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms.

The draft constitution is backed by MDC and ZANU-PF, so it is set to be debated and approved by the two-thirds majority required for it to become law in parliament after a national referendum between March and April.

Funding problems that have dogged the writing of the new constitution could delay the referendum and Finance Minister Tendai Biti said he has approached donors for help.

Although the economy has recovered under the unity government, most foreign donors have withheld money, pressing for wider political and economic reforms.

The draft retains a ban on same-sex marriage. It also keeps the death penalty, but only for "murder committed in aggravating circumstances" and makes exceptions for women and people younger than 21 or older than 70.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Rift Valley leaders to hold meeti...

Rift Valley leaders will hold a meeting to decide DP William Ruto's place in the Jubilee Party following emergence of Peter Kenneth as a main challenger to his place within the current structure. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
DP Ruto, not Kenneth the main man...

DP William Ruto will be the main man for the Jubilee Party in 2022, Kiraitu Murungi insists. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Jittery times for DP Ruto as Kenn...

Peter Kenneth is a genuine threat to DP William Ruto's 2022 State House bid... and the DP's allies know it. Read more...

ODM official acquitted of defilem...

A Nakuru ODM official on Thursday broke into tears after the court acquitted him of defilement charges leveled against him by his 15-year-old cousin. Read more...