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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Matabeleland South Constitutional Conference
    Bulawayo Agenda

    November 16, 2011

    Gwanda Agenda, a chapter of Bulawayo Agenda that covers the Matabeleland South Province, over the weekend held a leaders' conference on the constitution making process to discuss the content benchmarks and strategies of increasing citizen participation in the remaining stages of constitution making in Zimbabwe. 92 participants drawn from across the political divide, business community and CSO leadership braved the hot weather to attend the conference.

    Hon. Edward Mkhosi, one of the Co-Chairpersons of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) was one of the key presenters at the conference. In his presentation, he regretted that the constitution making process is not moving because there is a lot of bickering amongst political parties and COPAC members. He also highlighted the danger of smuggling of information by ZANU PF into the drafting stage. He further added that the national report is now out though there are still some disagreements on the reports as they are fraught with anomalies. He, however, said that there was some level of agreement that a new constitution should be in place before any elections.

    Discussions on devolution of power, which is one of the most preferred content benchmarks in the new constitution were led by Mr. Davis Luthe, who is the CEO of Plumtree Town and governance scholar. Participants were challenged to change their mindset of viewing devolution of power as a regional agenda but see it as a national agenda.

    Only two political parties, MDC-T and MDC managed to send representatives to the conference to state their party positions on the content of the constitution. Participants however, felt the politicians did not say anything new except to state populist declarations which are usually viewed as campaign material. The politicians were then urged to be sincere and consistent in their calls for certain content benchmarks which are of concern to the citizens.

    Below are some of the Conference resolutions:

    • The conference resolved that the government should facilitate healing and transitional justice for Gukurahundi and other incidents of human rights abuses before elections.
    • The calls for Security Sector and legislative Reform e.g. total repealing of POSA were reiterated to enable an environment for citizens' participation in the constitution making process and other key national processes.
    • Above all, participants encouraged each other to keep on negotiating, building peace and shun violence.
    • Gwanda Agenda and some organisations were tasked to develop more female leaders so that they can be able to vie for public positions. This was because there were no women speakers at the conference. Only two women moderated sessions.
    • Political parties were urged to practice devolution of power in their own political parties as they campaign for its inclusion in the new constitution.
    • Bulawayo Agenda was also tasked to take such platforms to grass root levels.
    • The '11-11-11 (triple-11) Peace Charter' has to cascade down to political structures and implementation.
    • CSOs should push for the publicity of provincial and/or district reports.

    Participants committed to grabbing of the opportunity to package within the new constitution democratic values and effective and accountable institutions to facilitate equitable development across the country.

    Upcoming Activities:

    1. Matabeleland North Constitutional Conference

    Date: 19 November, 2011

    Venue: Matshabalala Hall, Lupane

    Theme: Regional perspectives on constitutional and electoral processes: Towards enhancing information awareness and culture of engagement.

    Presenters include Political and Civic leaders and experts and Participants shall be drawn from Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Hwange, Victoria Falls, Lupane and Binga. The conference shall seek to explore opportunities for citizen participation and strategise on how to effectively influence the process and outcome of the constitution making process. The conference shall also serve as a platform for consolidation of the province's content benchmarks in the new constitution and prepare for the Second all-stakeholders Conference and Referendum.

    2. Budget Review meeting

    Bulawayo Agenda shall hold a meeting to review the national budget once it has been presented by the Ministry responsible. The purpose of the meeting shall be to review the budget allocations and policy implications. Civic activists and economics experts are in the process of being invited to attend. The organization shall then, from the meeting, draw advocacy issues and produce, press statements, policy briefs among other reactions.

    NB. Exact dates and venue shall be publicised in due course.

    Visit the Bulawayo Agenda fact sheet

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