Zimbabwe's constitution seen as flawed by local stakeholders
A NEW constitution developed by Zimbabwe’s main political parties that paves the way for general elections has been widely criticised by local stakeholders as a flawed compromise since a draft of it was published last Friday.
The release of the document, which has been three years in the making and will be subject to a referendum, curtails presidential powers and limits terms going forward to 10 years.
However, by virtue of the fact there is no age limit on presidential candidates, it allows President Robert Mugabe (88), who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, to stand again for election as the country’s leader.
A serving president is also protected from prosecution, but this immunity is stripped away when the individual leaves office.
Provisions were also contained in the document to compensate white farmers dispossessed of their land under Mr Mugabe’s controversial land reform policy, while simultaneously protecting the property rights of those new farmers who benefited from it.
A new national peace and reconciliation commission that encourages people to “tell the truth about the past”, and “facilitates the making of amends,” is also provided for.
Yesterday, the European Union said it would suspend most of the sanctions against more than 100 Zimbabweans accused of human rights abuses and supporting Mr Mugabe’s previous regime if a credible referendum on the constitution took place.
The draft constitution will be put to a public conference for discussion late next month, but a date for the referendum has yet to be set.