Sunday, May 26, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe to sign Constitution Wednesday
21/05/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is expected to sign the country’s new Constitution on Wednesday, paving the way for fresh elections to choose a substantive government.

Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, said the veteran leader would give his assent to the charter at State House with other GPA leaders and members of Copac management committee expected to attend.

“Once the signing is done, the document goes for gazetting and in terms of coming into force, there are two critical dates, the publication date and the effective date,” Charamba told the Herald newspaper.

Zimbabweans overwhelmingly approved the new Constitution in a referendum held on March 16 with the legislature also endorsing the document last week.

Mugabe’s assent pretty much concludes one of the key reforms agreed to under the GPA pact which gave birth to the unity government between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009 following a bloody presidential run-off election in 2008.

Both leaders say the coalition – a transitional arrangement initially supposed to have lasted 18 months but has dragged on for four years – was no longer workable but have yet to agree the actual date for new elections.

Tsvangirai is targeting an October poll saying more reforms must be implemented to ensure credible elections but Mugabe is adamant the vote cannot be delayed beyond the end of the current Parliament on June 29.

Responding to an application before the Supreme Court seeking to compel him to name an election date by June 29, Mugabe said he was not minded to rule by decree.

He added the automatic expiry of Parliament on June 29 would create an untenable constitutional crisis if new polls were not held.

The court last Friday throw out a bid by Tsvangirai to stop it from hearing the application filed by Harare resident Jealousy Mawarire on an urgent basis.

In papers filed on his behalf by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Mugabe said: “(I) understands that he is under legal obligation in terms of the Constitution to issue a proclamation fixing a date for the harmonised elections, which date must fall before 29 June 2013.

“First respondent is fully cognisant of the provisions of Section 63 (4) of the Constitution to the effect that Parliament shall stand dissolved on June 29 2013 by operation of law. This means that there will be no lawful legislative authority after that date, save the Office of President.

“First respondent is totally averse to running the country through Presidential decrees in the absence of a Parliament. The Constitutional void thereby created is untenable and will precipitate a Constitutional crisis and should be avoided.”

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