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NCA threatens to block referendum

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) says its lawyers are working on filing an urgent High Court application on Monday contesting the date set by Government for holding of the referendum.

Information officer of the organisation Blessing Ivan Vava told Radio Dialogue that the date is too early for people to have accessed the document, read and understood it for them to make an informed vote at the referendum.

Constitutional and parliamentary affairs minister Eric Matinenga this week announced that the principals of the three parties in the coalition government have set the 16th of March as polling day.

“We feel that the politicians want force people to vote for the draft without giving them time to understand the contents of the constitution,” said Vava.

The civic group says it will also contest some provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) that may hinder people from campaigning freely for their positions on the draft constitution.

National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) chairperson Effie Ncube concurred with Vava saying the period given by the principals is too little for people who are committed to publicising the contents of the draft.

“The date is good for those that want a YES vote because they are supported by the political and and government infrastructure, they will use the traditional leaders to vote for the draft,” Ncube said.

“There is no intention on the part of COPAC or Government to get the document across to the people, it is not going to be a vote about what is contained in the document but it is going to be a vote that follows your party agenda on the constitution.”

The NCA is the only civic organisation that has publicly opposed the draft document. Some sections of the civic society say it is “workable” with the COPAC product.

 

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