EU boost for Zim constitution plan

The European Union said on Tuesday it has given about R59million to Zimbabwe to help fund a programme to draft a new constitution meant to pave the way for fresh elections.

The European Union said on Tuesday it has given about R59million to Zimbabwe to help fund a programme to draft a new constitution meant to pave the way for fresh elections.

Efforts to write a new charter, meant to get underway in July last year, have stalled as officials complained of lack of enough money to conduct a public outreach campaign to gather voters' opinions.

"In order for the project to move forward, we are therefore pleased to grant our approval to the first quarterly work plan which amounts to $8million," Xavier Marchal, EU head of country delegation, said in a letter to Zimbabwean ministers.

"We have also noted that the government of Zimbabwe has pledged its contribution toward the project to an amount of $2million."

Under Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal, the country must draft a new constitution which would be put to a referendum.

The adoption of a charter would lead to new elections following disputed presidential polls in 2008, when President Robert Mugabe won after Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence against his supporters. - Sapa-AFP

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