New constitution sails through Senate
By Tichaona Sibanda
HARARE – Zimbabwe is set to have a new constitution in place soon, after Senators unanimously voted for the new charter on Tuesday. The 75 Senators in attendance in the upper House voted in favour of the new constitution and no one voted against it.
Deputy Justice Minister, Senator Obert Gutu, told SW Radio Africa that the Bill will now be referred back to the House of Assembly where minor grammatical amendments will be effected and thereafter it goes to President Robert Mugabe for assent.
MPs last week unanimously endorsed the constitution, after 156 legislators approved the Bill. The draft needed approval from 140 MPs to get the required two-thirds majority.
A new constitution is one of the reforms agreed to by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai under the 2008 power-sharing pact. After Mugabe signs the Bill into law, the leaders to parties in the GPA are expected to sit down and decide on the date for election.
But the regional SADC Troika group called on Mugabe and Tsvangirai to fully implement the GPA before the country goes to a watershed election. The resolution by Troika, on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum gathering in Cape Town last week, could effectively rule out Mugabe’s envisaged June poll timetable.
The summit of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security was convened after Tsvangirai went on a regional and continental diplomatic offensive to nudge regional leaders to press Mugabe to ensure that the GPA, which is the foundation of the unity government, is implemented in full before elections.
Leaders who attended the Troika included South African President Jacob Zuma, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete , Namibian Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah and SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao.
A communiqué issued at the end of the weekend meeting chaired by Kikwete urged the parties to finalize the outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA and preparations for holding free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai described the SADC communiqué as a diplomatic coup after the state media had described his diplomatic foray as a none event.
ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo is quoted in media reports trying to undermine the Troika resolutions.
‘We have implemented the GPA what else do they want? We have passed the constitution. Parliament has passed it and so what else should we implement.
“Let us not spend a lot of time discussing issues that are not important. Our security sector is the best in Africa. Have you ever talked about reforming the security sector in South Africa or Tanzania? Asked Gumbo. SW Radio Africa