[ 2012-02-19 ]
Mugabe vows to reject 'flawed' constitution
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on
Sunday vowed to reject a draft constitution that
does not reflect views gathered during a public
outreach campaign marred by violence and
"The issue is, what is not the views of the people
... we will reject," Mugabe said in an interview
with The Sunday Mail, ahead of his 88th birthday
He accused Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of seeking to
manipulate the draft constitution to gain
advantage at the next elections.
"I think some of the issues are just their own
ideas that were slotted in by those who thought
this would help them as parties, but did not come
from the outreach programme to gather public
"It is the thinking of the MDC. They are afraid.
They are just cowards."
Mugabe's remarks came after the state-owned Herald
newspaper published what it said was a draft of
the constitution which had a clause stating that a
person who has served two terms as president
cannot stand in new elections.
Mugabe has been in power since 1980.
He also admitted to jostling in his party among
those who want to succeed him but said none of the
contenders was strong enough.
He said "you cannot avoid" factions battling each
other to succeed him.
"But they are not as serious. There is no one who
can stand and win at the moment. You have got to
groom a candidate. You can't just get someone and
put them in the forefront. You must groom a
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing
government in 2009 to mend the economy and avoid a
descent into full-fledged conflict in the wake of
a bloody presidential run-off election.
Under the pact the two political rivals agreed to
a raft of reforms including amending electoral and
media laws and drafting a new charter to pave the
way to fresh polls.
But work on the new constitution has run in fits
and starts, hindered by attacks on meetings by
supporters' of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
Mugabe has pushed for new elections this year, but
the constitution-drafting commission says a
referendum on the charter could not be held before
August, meaning that elections would likely not
take place until next year.
Source - AFP
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