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This article participates on the following special index pages:
New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
of the Independent Constitution Monitoring Project (ZZZICOMP)
Peace Project (ZPP), Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
January 27, 2010
For over a decade,
Zimbabweans have demanded a new, democratic and people-driven constitution.
In signing the Interparty
Political Agreement (IPA), Zimbabwe's political leaders
acknowledged in Article 6 that "it is a fundamental right
and duty of the Zimbabwean people to make a constitution by themselves
and for themselves" and "that the process of making
this constitution must be owned and driven by the people and must
be inclusive and democratic".
It is in this
context that the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (ZESN) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Independent Constitution Monitoring Project (ZZZICOMP) has been
set up to independently assess and evaluate the Article 6 constitution-making
process against established principles, benchmarks and standards
of constitutionalism and constitution-making, including openness
and transparency, inclusivity, legitimacy, accessibility and receptiveness.
is to objectively monitor, observe and report on the work of the
Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC), the public
outreach programme, the work of the Thematic Committees and the
Drafting Committee, and the final document produced in order to
adjudge how democratic and transparent the constitution-making process
is, and if it accurately reflects the input of broad and diverse
The three partners in
ZZZICOMP are non-partisan, independent and professional organisations
whose main functions are to promote peace, promote democratic elections
and to foster a culture of human rights and constitutionalism in
Zimbabwe. None of the organisations are formally participating in
the constitution-making process through representation in the outreach
teams, the Thematic Committees, or the Drafting Committee, and so
believe they will be able to engage in effective collaboration to
independently monitor the constitution-making process and to contribute
to increased public confidence in the outcome of such monitoring.
Already 420 monitors,
as well as further provincial coordinators and other key personnel
have been trained for this project. They are now on the ground across
the country observing the operating environment in general, and
are ready to commence the more intensive monitoring once the outreach
teams have been deployed. They are dispersed nationwide in order
to systematically gather information during the consultative processes,
to comment on the operating environment and any breaches of the
IPA in relation to the process, and to highlight any violations,
violence, or other discrepancies which occur in the constituencies
and wards in which they are operating.
The monitoring of the
constitution-making process will also act as a confidence-building
measure for the people by holding those leading the process to account
and insisting on greater transparency, pressuring for a conducive
operating environment, availability of diverse information relating
to constitution-making, and ensuring that the draft constitution
ultimately produced is a true reflection of the input provided by
those participating in consultative and outreach processes.
ZZZICOMP is mindful that
the IPA is a political compromise document and excludes civil society
and the general public in its intent, formulation and implementation.
This means that ZZZICOMP has a critical role to play in consistently
scrutinizing the constitution-making process, offering encouragement
if and where any positive progress is attained, but ultimately holding
parties accountable where they fail to adhere to the scope and spirit
of Article 6 of the IPA.
We stress that the constitution-making
process must comply not only with the provisions of Article 6 of
the IPA but with Zimbabwe's regional and international obligations
and established norms, standards and best practices which will entrench
constitutionalism, respect for the rule of law and democracy. It
is against this that the Article 6 process will ultimately be judged.
ZZZICOMP will be producing
regular updates and monthly monitoring reports which will be widely
distributed for use by all who have an interest in the constitution-making
Because of ZZZICOMP's
representative grassroots structures and proficiency in monitoring
and observation, we believe that we remain a critical voice for
a large portion of the Zimbabwean population who have seen their
voices and wishes in relation to constitution-making in Zimbabwe
silenced twice before in our history, and are wary of being manipulated
in the same way once again.
Further, as responsible
citizens and organisations we realize and are invested in contributing
to the real need for change and transformation in Zimbabwe at the
social, political and economic levels. A new constitution can contribute
greatly to this objective, but only insofar as it is produced, owned
and internalized by the people and reflects their desires and aspirations,
rather than the objectives of those pursuing more narrow political
or other agendas.
In relation to the current
constitution-making operating environment, we are of the considered
view that the conditions which will make it possible for people
to participate freely in the Article 6 process have not been created.
Repressive legislation that inhibits freedom of assembly, association,
expression and movement has not been repealed or amended, and continues
to be selectively applied by the authorities.
The private media remains
suffocated, while the public media remains in the control of retrogressive
forces. The quality of reporting on the process by both the private
and public media has been largely superficial and lacks both investigative
quality, and substantive information which will assist the public
to access and be educated about the many diverse issues relating
to the process and content of constitution-making. It is only with
such information that people can decide for themselves whether they
wish to contribute to the process or not, and what they want to
see addressed in any new constitution.
of the law targeting human rights defenders and perceived and real
supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change is still rampant.
The institutions of justice delivery remain unreformed and continue
to contribute to the culture of impunity. Incidents of political
violence continue to be documented, and the polarization of society
that marred the 2008 elections has not been addressed. In January
alone, there are at least 8 documented and confirmed incidents of
torture, assault and various forms of intimidation, allegedly by
ZANU PF youths, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe National Army
personnel in Mudzi, Kuwadzana, Domboshava, Chimbondoro, Chiramwiwa
In some provinces, such
as Mashonaland Central (Mazowe and Bindura districts and Mt Darwin)
and in Midlands (in Gweru Urban ward 3), our long term monitors
have reported that some politicians are allegedly holding meetings
in communities suggesting responses to various questions that they
allege will be raised during the outreach.
Generally, there have
been reports from other provinces such as Matabeleland North (Nkayi
North), Harare (Chitungwiza), Mashonaland West (Hurungwe, Makonde,
Kariba) and Mashonaland East (Hwedza, Mudzi West and Uzumba), suggesting
that politicians are urging villagers to support the Kariba draft
as the basis for the constitution-making and threatening that without
the Kariba draft "there will be no constitution in Zimbabwe".
In other instances, people are being threatened with unspecified
action for raising concerns that "the process is not transparent
or mulled". The project is currently ascertaining whether
such meetings and events are taking place in all the provinces.
We have noted with concern
that the progress and transparency of the process has been marred
from the onset. Since the formation of the Parliamentary Select
Committee in April 2009 in accordance with the IPA time-line, its
activities have been shrouded in secrecy, and confusion, with a
general lack of information on progress. The establishment of the
COPAC secretariat in December 2009 has done little to address these
concerns, and there is still a high level of political interference
in the operations of this secretariat, which is contributing to
the confusion and delays. Those selected to be part of the outreach
teams include a number of known perpetrators of human rights violations,
and the ratio of political representatives when compared with civil
society representatives is excessive. Further interrogation of this
list, as well as the 100-200 extra individuals accredited in a non-transparent
manner during the COPAC training, is continuing.
We also note with concern
the perception created by COPAC that there will be 70% representation
from civic society, yet within the 70% there are also political
parties dominating hence making it a politically driven process.
In addition we have also observed that there is under representation
of women in structures created by COPAC which include co-chairs
of the Parliamentary Select Committee, co-chairs of the thematic
committees, resource persons and outreach teams.
We urge COPAC to select
quality rapporteurs who understand the concepts of the process,
the thematic issues and who will capture then accurately.
for an environment that enables Zimbabweans to freely decide whether
they wish to contribute to the constitution making process or not
without fear of reprisals. We also expect that a clearer deployment
plan and methodology will be issued to the public in time for the
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