Actual drafting of new constitution commences
Harare – 5 December, 2011
The Constitution Select Committee, COPAC, is pleased to inform the nation that the actual drafting of a new constitution has commenced. The three principal drafters, Justice Moses Chinhengo, Mrs Priscilla Madzonga and Mr Brian Crozier got their brief and terms of reference from COPAC on the 28th of November to begin their work on the 5th of December.
They will also be working in close consultation with the Select Committee and the 17 technical experts. The much awaited drafting process will take at least 35 days from date of commencement.
The drafters bring to the process their wealth of experience and expertise in constitution-making to make sure that the draft being spearheaded by COPAC will not just adequately address the people’s constitutional needs, but also pass as one of the best in the region and beyond. Justice Chinhengo, who holds qualifications in legislative drafting is a renowned constitutional expert. He is currently a High Court Judge in Botswana, and has worked in the same capacity in Zimbabwe. Admitted to the bar in 1985, his career in the legal field has also seen him working as a chief law officer in the Legislative Drafting Department in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and he has also worked as an attorney.
Mrs Madzonga has worked in the Attorney General’s Office as the chief legal draftsman in the department responsible for drafting of all legislation for Zimbabwe. She was responsible for training of new draftsmen and also provided legal advice to Government departments. In her long career in the legal field, she has also worked as a law office and is a member of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Drafters. She is currently a lawyer in private practice and has over 20 years experience in the legal field.
University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and private legal consultant, Mr Brian Crozier is a renowned constitutional lawyer and seasoned legislative drafter who has served as a Director of legal drafting. During this time he was responsible for preparing Government legislation. He was also responsible for the training of drafters in the division of legal drafting. He also worked in the Attorney General’s Office where he gave advice to Government Departments and was responsible for drafting subsidiary legislation. During the early years of his career, he also worked as a prosecutor and as an attorney of the High Court.
The drafters come at a time when a lot of preliminary work for drafting has already been done, some of which includes the adoption of a framework for drafting, identification of constitutional principles as well as identification of constitutional issues. Throughout the process, COPAC has remained true to its mandate of producing a people-driven and people-owned draft constitution from an inclusive and democratic process. The people’s submissions for the new constitution are contained in the national report, and it is from this document that the agreed constitutional issues were drawn. The document of agreed constitutional principles, as well as the national report will be the main documents that the drafters will use.
The new constitution, therefore, will reflect the will of the people gathered from the outreach process that comprised of outreach meetings in each of Zimbabwe’s 1957 wards, website and written submissions as well as special meetings with the disabled, children and parliamentarians. COPAC wishes to assure the nation that the constitution-making process is proceeding well and is being competently done. Once the draft is in place, it will be publicized extensively before the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference to give Zimbabweans an opportunity to familiarize with its contents before they vote in the referendum. COPAC undertakes to make the draft available in local languages and Braille.
As we have now reached a critical stage of the constitution-making process, official information will be issued out as regular updates only by COPAC. The public is advised to be wary of being misled by individuals or organizations claiming to have inside information on the process.
COPAC wished to warmly thank Zimbabweans for turning out in numbers at outreach meetings and generally giving their views on what they want to see in the new constitution for Zimbabwe. We hope for such continued interest and participation in the constitution-making process.
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