THE Zanu (PF) party led by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has rejected parts of the country's draft constitution.

The document was crafted by a parliamentary select committee after four years of acrimonious debate. It has to be validated by Zimbabwe's parliament before being put to citizens in a referendum. Only then can Zimbabwe hold elections again.

The draft was given to Zimbabwe's political parties two weeks ago and has been endorsed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

Zanu (PF) was unhappy with a clause relating to provincial governors and resident ministers, who are currently presidential appointees. The draft constitution proposes that the party with the majority of seats in a province nominate two candidates for the positions, one of whom the president will appoint.

The former ruling party was also not happy with a clause proposing the restructuring of the attorney-general's office.

"We were asked to renegotiate and realign the document with the public's views. On the whole, 97% of the document has been endorsed by the politburo," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu (PF)'s chief negotiator, said at the weekend.

Political analysts suspect there could be further "stalling" on the finalisation of the new supreme law for Zimbabwe.

"A new constitution is a pre-requisite for fresh elections but the time-frame is being stretched for far too long and I suspect this is a delaying tactic," said Moses Mhunga, a political analyst.

A Zanu (PF) politburo member said the party's supreme decision-making body between congresses had failed to adopt the draft constitution due to "petty" differences among officials. Another meeting of the politburo has now been slated for Wednesday.

Bulawayo-based analyst Dumisani Nkomo said yesterday "the best approach would be to encourage dialogue from everyone".

There are indications Zanu (PF) could launch a no-vote campaign when Zimbabwe's populace decides on the final version of the constitution in the referendum.