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Zimbabwe Briefing Issue 50
in Zimbabwe Coalition
(SA Regional Office)
November 02, 2011
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Stop-Go constitution-making process now set to move ahead
The Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition last Saturday hosted a constitutional reform
update and briefing meeting targeted at Zimbabweans living in South
Africa. Honourable Douglas Mwonzora (MP), the Co-Chairperson from
constitution select committee, commonly known as COPAC and spokesperson
of Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) made the keynote address. In the address, Mwonzora stressed
that the writing
of a constitution had to be undertaken in accordance to the
provisions of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and focused on three fundamental principles,
that is, it has to be people driven, all-inclusive, and democratic.
that the constitution was behind time as it should have been put
to a referendum in 2010. He cited a frustrating environment characterised
by complete disregard of the rule of law, selective application
of the law, where certain people are immune to arrest and others
subject to victimisation by the law as one of the reasons for the
delay in process.
the COPAC Co-Chairperson also said the Zimbabwean government was
broke and has had to rely on donor communities for funds. The other
hindrance delaying the constitution was the distrust among the political
parties, resulting in constant fighting on several issues. At present,
political parties are fighting over the definitions and approaches
to quantitative and qualitative analysis of data.
COPAC has agreed
on three principle drafters of the constitution, Hon Justice Moses
Chinhengo, Priscilla Madzonga, and Brian Crozier who will be assisted
by 17 legal experts.
Last week, the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition confirmed that drafting of a new constitution
will begin mid-November this year and that the three, non-political
actors named above will undertake the task of writing. They are
expected to retreat to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe for the
writing. Content issues expected to dominate the body of the constitution
are expected to include; term limits for the Executive and restrictions
on the extent to which it can interfere with other arms of government;
decentralisation; land (land audits, the Land Commission etc.),
Bill of Rights; and the strengthening of Parliament and representation.
if adopted, will be seen as one guiding Zimbabwe to becoming a post-conflict
society that will go through a free and fair election which will
result in a democratic transfer of power to the eventual winner,
in stark contrast to the 2008 episode, recorded as one of the most
chaotic and violent elections in the history of Zimbabwe.
of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) demanded from COPAC a more active
role for civil society actors in the final stages of the constitution-makingprocess.
Mwonzora responded by stating that CSOs were most welcome to monitor
and observe the entire process.
constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC), last Thursday at
its head office, announced the completion of the national report.
audience, COPAC spokesperson Honourable Jessi Majome (MP) indicated
that the report is basically an elaborate of raw data collected
countrywide during the consultative phase. She said that the report
is in two components, statistical form, and the other in narrative.
What it simply means is that both quantitative and qualitative methods
of analysis were used in producing the report; Clues were that the
report will be up for public consumption shortly. They also presented
a statement revealing that the report carried information refelcting
the contributions on each of the thematic areas.
In her address,
Honourable Majome added that the achievement paves way for drafting
of the new constitution, which they anticipate completion within
35 days. Honourable Paul Mangwana, the only Co- Chairperson who
was available added that the drafting process would be piloted with
a preparatory workshop whose expected outcomes would be:
- The identification
of constitutional issues from the national report,
on the constitutional issues to be included in the constitution
- Gap filling
in constitutional framework in areas not covered by field data
- The finalisation
of the constitutional framework
- The identification
of the constitutional principles which will guide the drafting
on framework for conflict/dispute resolution.
has been scheduled for Monday, 31st October in Masvingo and participants
are limited to members of the select Committee who will provide
political guidance to the process; members of the drafting committee
and representative of the ministry of constitutional affairs. Observers
and the local media are only welcome for the opening and closing
ceremonies. However, the panel, that mainly consisted of members
of the sub-committees could not be drawn into giving specific dates
timeframe for the completion of the remaining part citing it is
a process whose success does not allow such inflexibility. Mangwana
said there are a number of unforeseen challenges that make it difficult
for them to give a substantive timeframe.
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