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This article participates on the following special index pages:
New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
to the co-chairpersons of the Parliamentary Select Committee on
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
July 12, 2009
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We write to register
our several concerns relating to the First All Stakeholders'
Constitutional Conference (1st ASHCC) which is due to take place
from 13-14 July 2009 in Harare.
The following facts are
1. Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) has been allocated a total of eight (8) delegates
for the 1st ASHCC. This only became known to us on Saturday 11 July
2009 - a mere 2 days before the event is due to commence -
through a stroke of luck, after reading The Saturday Herald in which
the list of proposed delegates was published.
2. ZLHR received
an invitation - ostensibly from the Clerk of Parliament - at our
offices at 11:30hrs on Saturday 11 July 2009.
3. This invitation was
not delivered by a parliamentary staff member, but a member of a
civic organisation who had visited Parliament that same day and
had found a number of invitations for non-governmental organisations
"lying around and in danger of not being delivered, or of
being picked up and taken for use by persons not from the named
4. The invitation did
not provide information as to the intent, objectives and substance
of the First ASHCC, nor did it include details of a programme or
even when proceedings will commence.
5. At no stage before
this was ZLHR or, to the best of our knowledge, other colleagues
in civil society approached or consulted on views about and suggestions
for the 1st ASHCC, its objectives and how the programme should be
structured in order to ensure that it is something of value and
moves the process of constitution-making forward in a positive way
and with meaningful popular (and civic) participation.
6. The provincial consultations
which were held last week, and which we monitored, were also not
a platform at which these issues could be - or were - raised,
discussed and/or satisfactorily resolved.
7. We have learned that
there will be two Chairpersons - Dr Hope Sadza and Professor
Makhurane. At no time was ZLHR or, to the best of our knowledge,
any of our colleagues from civil society consulted on our suggestions
and views on this critical issue. Instead, we are advised only after
the selection has been made by politicians.
8. ZLHR also
noted from the list published in The Saturday Herald that political
party representation accounts for 40% of the total number of delegates,
while non-governmental organisations have an 8% representation.
We have also learned that, in addition to the 40% political party
representation, all parliamentarians will be attending over and
above the 40%, and that the government also has been allocated a
large number of delegates.
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