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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Copac awareness meetings analysis report
    Bulawayo Agenda

    March 14, 2013

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    The 13th of February, 2013 marked a milestone in the current Zimbabwean history-making generation as it brought to a somewhat finality the unexpectedly long process of writing a new constitution for the country. The Constitution Parliamentary Committee (COPAC)-led process saw the announcement of a ‘deal’, as also hyped by the media, by the Inclusive Government political party leaders that meant a final draft to be taken to the nationwide referendum on the 16th of March as announced by the Minister of Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs.

    Copac then scheduled the 25th of February to the 8th of March as dates for awareness and ‘vote yes’ campaign in 148 meetings held in 73 districts across the country. Civil Society in Bulawayo, including Bulawayo Agenda convened and resolved to play a critical role in sensitizing the citizens and clearly positioning themselves in the centre.

    Part of CSOs position was that, ‘we are neither campaigning for a ‘yes vote’ nor campaigning for a ‘no vote’ but that Zimbabweans know the draft so as to participate from a point of knowledge rather than being whipped’. This position was reiterated by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition coordinating committee thus gaining some currency in civil society.

    With the angst intimated above, Bulawayo Agenda, alongside its own meetings, went on to closely observe some of the COPAC sensitization meetings in four provinces namely Bulawayo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South. The purpose of these observations was to assess the levels of citizen participation with special attention on gender balance. The observation was also meant to assess citizens’ turnout and project possible scenarios in terms of citizen participation in the Referendum.

    Delimitation, Limitations and Method of data collection:

    As readily pointed out above, the meetings that were observed were broadly in four provinces; Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Bulawayo and parts of Midlands, that is among the initially scheduled. Some of the rescheduled meetings were not observed. In these provinces, not all the 54 meetings were observed and neither were all the observed ones, seen throughout their full duration. The disclaimer worth noting is therefore that the observation was not in any way exhaustive.

    Results in this report were gathered through Bulawayo Agenda’s Chapter committee members, citizen journalists and staff members who attended some of the meetings.

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