Zimbabwea Civic Group Calls for Rejection of Constitution

Zimbabwe’s National Constitutional Assembly, a civic organization, will call on citizens to reject a new constitution in a referendum in coming months, Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said.

“The new constitutional proposal still leaves too much power in the president’s hands,” Madhuku told reporters in Johannesburg today.

The NCA and the Movement for Democratic Change, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, successfully lobbied voters to reject a constitution 13 years ago. Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front have shared power since a disputed election in 2008. The two leaders agreed last month on a new constitution that must be approved in a referendum before elections can take place.

“If it was worth rejecting in 2000, why would it be worth accepting now,” said Madhuku, a law professor based in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. “The president will still appoint all ministers and cabinet members, including a number who don’t have to be elected, without any parliamentary approval or over- sight.”

Zimbabwe may hold elections as soon as July if the constitution is approved, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Jan. 29. The previous vote was described by observers, including from the European Union, as being flawed because of violence and polling irregularities.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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