Zimbabwe parties resume Constitution process

The parties reach a compromise on how to analyse views gathered from public.

Harare: Parties to Zimbabwe`s power-sharing deal resumed the constitutional process on Saturday after reaching a compromise on how to analyse views gathered from the public, an official said.

The process stalled on Wednesday over disagreements between President Robert Mugabe`s ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai`s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over the weight given to the public submissions.

MDC spokesman Douglass Mwonzora said the parties agreed to resume after ending the dispute over methods to be used in analysing data collected during outreach meetings across the country.

"Everything has been resolved now," Mwonzora said. "It was a compromise deal, but I must say it`s a win-win deal for everyone and people are back at work."

Under the deal, the Constitution committee will apply both quantitative and qualitative approaches in the data analysis, he said.

The committee had set September for a referendum on the draft Constitution, but the suspension is likely to cause a delay.

Moreover, public consultations on the constitution have been repeatedly postponed after outbreaks of violence. A Tsvangirai supporter was killed when militant backers of Mugabe stoned a meeting in September 2010.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, and his long-time rival Tsvangirai formed the power-sharing government more than two years ago in a bid to stop a conflict sparked by disputed 2008 elections and to mend a shattered economy.

The agreement included plans for a new Constitution and amended media and election laws to ensure free and fair polls.

Although no dates have been set for fresh polls, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have said elections should be held this year with or without a new Constitution.

Tsvangirai and the MDC want reforms in place before the elections to ensure a level playing field.

Bureau Report

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